As government IT looks to cut costs and do more with less, data center consolidation is one of the key strategies most CIO shops look to. It makes perfect sense to consolidate as there is no reason to have hundreds of data centers for each federal agency as hosting costs are driven down with scale (from staff to equipment). However, data center consolidation is easier said than done and agencies have been grappling with the issue for years now.
As such, it is the topic for our next "GovLoop Conversation - Your Agencies' Blueprint to Data Center Consolidation" on next Tuesday, 3/20 in DC - if you haven't been to one of our conversation - they are small intimate conversations of 25 to 30 government leaders where our experts sit at tables amongst the attendees and serve as facilitators to a larger discussion, which you as an attendee can control (rsvp)
To start the conversation, I wanted to present 3 ideas on data center consolidation:
1) It's about trust - It can be really difficult for a program manager or IT executive who has a systems already working in production to trust another part of the agency to manage its hosting. If they are used to controlling the team or facility, losing that authority can make them feel less secure. So the key is making sure they feel trust in the consolidated data centers. This is why most consolidations start small with new systems going into production or old less-important systems to prove trust.
2) It's about change management - It's always hard to change behaviors even if it is logical. Trust is a bigger piece of a broader change management that occurs with consolidation. There's lots of moving pieces from organizational dynamics, trust, procedural changes that all have to be mitigated with strong change management.
3) Integrate the data center consolidation & cloud conversation - Sometimes the data center consolidation and cloud computing (specifically IaaS) conversations are presented as separate conversations. However, I think they are all a key part of the modern hosting conversation - what is the most effective, efficient, cost-effective, and scalable ways to host applications in your agency.
Data center consolidation is an integral part of the changing government IT dynamic and as we make this move, it is important we learn lessons from leading agency and implement with success.
Hope to see you next Tuesday to continue the conversation.