This is the second article in a four-part series exploring what federal officials need to consider as agencies begin to look beyond current efforts to consolidate government data centers.
When U.S. Army Col. Dave Acevedo, CIO/G-6 ADCCP Team, says the “stars — meaning Army brass — are literally aligned behind data center consolidation”, it shows how serious government is about reducing its data center footprint.
“We have a forcing function and it’s called the chain of command,” Acevedo, the lead for Army data center consolidation, declared at a forum in Washington held last month entitled “Beyond Data Center Consolidation.”
“It was mentioned literally in the Pentagon ‘the stars have in fact aligned’. So we are getting a lot of help. That’s how important this is to us.” In fact, on Dec. 13, Army commands met to detail plans that the vice chief of staff of the Army is going to kick off soon, said Acevedo.
“The security piece is probably is one of our biggest challenges,” he explained, noting the Army is well aware it has problems especially with application security. “So, as the Army consolidates or moves apps to DISA (Defense Information Systems Agency) or commercial clouds, we want to take advantage of increasing the security postures of those applications.”
That process begins with working with Army data center operators “to get a handle on what is it that we are running on all of our platforms and how are we going to right size them as we get ready to modernize them and sustain them and migrate them,” the colonel said.
It’s really getting people to reverse their mindset and say you don’t have to own it to control it.”
Acevedo said the Army is also working on providing a contract vehicle allowing it to host apps with commercial providers.
“The challenge we have is we’ve got to have two-factor authentication. So your CAC (common access) card and your ability to use a pin is one reason why we’ve got to put things in one place.”
About This Series: The Federal government is now on track to close 1,080 data centers by 2015 among 3,133 in operation as part of a broader administration effort to reduce duplicative spending. Federal CIO Steven VanRoekel has signaled a new emphasis on doing “more” — by investing in technology creatively–rather than focusing primarily “on the less” associated with cuts, including data center closures. This series reflects how senior agency IT executives view some of the top issues likely to emerge beyond data center consolidation, including security, monitoring, automation, mobility and hosting more applications in the cloud.
Part 1 examined the need to reduce the government’s digital footprint. The next article looks at how the Defense Information Agency sees game-changing security potential through consolidation efforts. The articles and videos in this series were provided by On the Frontlines.
These public facing websites used for recruiting and communicating “is probably our best fit to be hosted within the commercial cloud. We know we have a large number of those, they are spread out all over the place and what we are trying to do is get a handle on those,” he added.
“We have to figure out what we’ve got, where it’s at, how we are paying for it and what is the security posture. Then we can make those decisions about where to consolidate it and where to move it to gain better efficiencies and effectiveness.”
Draw Down Opportunity
The colonel said because the U.S. has been at war for the last decade, the culture has been to allow soldiers to build networks as needed to host applications and build capabilities.
“As we start to draw down, we understand where the economy is at and we’ve got to do the right thing for the tax payer. It’s really getting people to reverse their mindset a little bit and say you don’t have to own it to control it.”
Acevedo is confident that leadership will commit the monetary resources necessary. “But at the same time, we have challenges “There are some very specific missions and very specific applications that although the Army wants to say we want to consolidate and do the right thing, there is going to be a balancing here.”
On the job for only five months, his goal is to close 185 data centers between now and fiscal year 2015 and continue enterprise email and SharePoint consolidation. But he also tackling another big job, portfolio rationalization.
“We are tracking about 8,000 applications in the Army right now. Out of those 8,000, that’s two of them — email and SharePoint. We’ve got about 7,900 and some more to go as we go through portfolio rationalization and identifying what do we really have out there and what are we paying for?”