Federal datacenter closures aren't having the expected impact

It looks like the government has vastly overestimated the savings achieved by closing datacenters. And the complete impact of the closures done so far has yet to be evaluated.
Written by David Chernicoff, Contributor

Since the Federal government announced its mandate to close and consolidate datacenters with a goal of $3,000,000,000 in savings on IT spending we have seen many stories about the datacenters that were being closed, and a few success stories about the efficiencies of these closures. In fact, the appearance of success has been so great that at the beginning of October the government changed the rules for closure candidates, and increased the number of potential datacenter closures more than 35%, moving then number of eligible datacenters to almost 2,800.

Originally, the government target was 800 datacenters by the end of 2015; it's now 962 and subject to change. The goal for 2011 has gone from the 373 datacenters announced at the start of Q3 to 472. No specific dollar savings has been attached to the new number, though the expectation is that the savings through 2015 will be $630 million. These savings will apparently be strictly in IT hardware and facilities costs as there have been no layoffs and at this time none have been planned, with government employees being moved into more "high-value" work as their datacenters are shut down.

But a report in yesterday's Federal Times points out that the savings, based on the plans submitted by affected federal agencies, show a savings of only $100 million through 2015; well below the "official" announced figure of $630 million and a far cry from the $3 billion in savings that was the announced target.

Unsurprisingly for a government agency, the OMB is unable to explain the methodology that they have used to project the financial benefits of shutting down these datacenters and are stonewalling questions, simply asserting that their estimates are accurate and that the projected savings will materialize.

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