Can government agencies play nice and share?

Government looks to utilize excess datacenter capacity

According to a report from FierceGovernmentIT plans are afoot for a mechanism to allow existing federal datacenters to market their excess rack capacity to other government entities. The marketplace is a product of the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative. However, significant hurdles exist to broad scale adoption of the practice of agencies leasing services and/or space from other governmental entities.

As things currently stand, contracting to outside agencies provides better control than making use of other agencies computing resources. There is currently no mechanism in place to enforce SLA ‘s or handle interagency payments for computing resources.  

Kevin Carroll, president of Maryland-based The Kevin Carroll Group and head of the Army Program Executive Office for Enterprise Information Systems from June 1999 to October 2007 pointed out that the inability to enforce SLA’s or have any way to pressure other agencies the way that you could with an outside contractor (move services to a different provider, monetary penalties for failure to meet SLA requirements, etc.) meant that some agencies feared moving their serveries to the existing Defense Information Systems Agency cloud.  He also raised the issue of the political nature of government IT, noting that moving services after committing to the DISA cloud was a difficult political move.

The FDCCI plans to eventually offer the ability to use a metered service to allow agencies to utilize unused virtualization capacity in a different agency’s datacenter, but the other issues of defining SLA, defining penalties, billing, and the overall political nature of the process would need to first be defined