Category: Data Center


In light of the recent tragic events in Tuscon the political rhetoric of the US has fixated on the idea of the two political parties working together. In a significant break with tradition Republican and Democratic legislative members will be sitting together during the State of the Union address on 25 January 2011.[1] Whether or not the spirit of cooperation will last into the spring remains to be seen, but it should make for a more entertaining speech tomorrow night. Perhaps the citizens of America will watch it in hope of awkward standing ovations or that the legislators will behave as we all did in grade school when our teachers made us sit boy-girl-boy. CNN suggests that it might even turn the speech into less of a pep rally for the party of the executive branch and more of a forum where citizens to learn what is going on from their elected leader.[2] Well here’s to hoping anyways.

 

Members of the House and Senate have jumped at this bipartisanship as a platform to distinguish themselves to their constituents. Many have chosen to focus on financial reform, which almost inevitably leads to a negative tone. However Representative Gerry Connelly D-Va has chosen a different path. Working in conjunction with Rep. Darrell Issa R-Ca, he is seeking to reform and streamline the government IT procurement process.[3] Connelly is seeking comprehensive hearings to evaluate everything from the efficiency of the procurement process, the use of federal employees instead of contractors and the use of current technology.[4] He is particularly interested in exploring with government IT experts the money saving potential of cloud computing instead of data centers.

 

Having spent the last several months calling government IT workers, I think most would agree that there are both positive and negative things about the current procurement process. Depending on which agency has to be used for acquisition the choices may be drastically limited. The natural fear will be that any new legislation might exacerbate any existing problems. I believe that the potential to revise what is a confusing and frustrating system for employees into a mechanism of technology acquisition that is beneficial for all parties. A simpler faster system would improve the service provided to the tax payer and with the implementation of cloud cost could be drastically reduced while multiplying efficiency.

 

Government IT is not likely to be the blockbuster story like the tragedy of the shooting of Representative Giffords, who I am very glad is recovering in my home state. But whether or not it creates the kind of news the traditional outlets are looking for, the health of the information technology of this country is imperative as we move through this new decade. Other countries in the world, particularly China, are investing heavily in technology and the US must keep pace even if in a recession or we will be left behind.


[1] Tom Cohen, “Legislators pairing off for bipartisan seating at Obama speech,” CNN Politics, http://www.cnn.com/2011/POLITICS/01/23/congress.date.night/index.html?hpt=Sbin, Posted on 24 January 2011.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Matthew Weigelt, “Outsourcing, insourcing and partisanship, Lawmaker seeks cooperation, not conflict,” Federal Computer Week, http://fcw.com/Articles/2011/01/21/Gerry-Connelly-bipartisan-issues-James-Lankford-subcommittee.aspx?Page=2, Posted 21 January 2011.

[4] Ibid.

On January 12th, Ken Richhart, the deputy assistant commissioner of the OIT, announced this is department would be hiring 1,000 new IT workers during this fiscal year. This will bring their total number to 2,500 at then end of 2011. He indicated that many of these would be entry and low level workers.[1]

 

These younger workers are likely to contribute to the modernization IT landscape of the federal government. They have been hired in hope that through their expertise in new technology may be able to help achieve results in “unfunded IT mandates” which include “ ‘green’ IT, real-time security monitoring, IPV6, configuration improvements, open government and cyber command requirements.”[2]

 

These hires feed into the larger project of the government IT organizations moving away from outdated technology and “building systems” according to Richhart. They will instead focus on “managed servers” and “build[ing] applications and services instead.”[3]

 

If you are interested in becoming involved in this intiative you can see the job listings via USAJobs at http://jobsearch.usajobs.opm.gov/a9custom.aspx.


[1] Alice Lipowicz, “CBO to hire 1,000 IT workers during fiscal 2011.” Federal Computer Week, http://fcw.com/articles/2011/01/12/cbp-hiring-1000-it-workers-during-fiscal-2011.aspx, Posted on January 12, 2011.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

The Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative was announced in February of 2010 and underwent revisions through the beginning of October. The Initiative is closely linked to the Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan (SSPP) and Cloud Computing, two of the best funded government IT projects.[1]

 

In 1998 there were only 432 data centers owned by the federal government, by 2009 there were more than 1,100. This number increased by 90% percent to 2,094 as of December 2011 according to number published by CIO Council.[2]

The primary goal is to reduce costs by improving energy efficiency and square footage, though perhaps the greatest benefit will be the reallocation of IT resources within the government for new initiatives instead of maintenance.[3]

Virtualization and Cloud computing are two of the recommended ways to achieve consolidation by the 2012 deadline. With such a large project choosing where to begin can be daunting. Rutrell Yasin, a writer for Federal Computer Week, suggests that e-mail is one of the easiest applications to put in the cloud. It can be the first important step toward meeting the requirement of 3 applications moved to cloud within 18 months.[4]

Even with the changes in the government at the beginning of 2011 these deadlines press on. How will you be ready?


[1] CIO Council, Federal Data Center Consolidation FAQ, http://ow.ly/3Dcxm, Posted 06.30.2010.

[2] CIO Council, Update on Federal Data Center Consolidation, http://ow.ly/3DcPs, Posted on 10.01.2010.

[3] CIO Council, Federal Data Center Consolidation FAQ.

[4] Rutrell Yasin. “Implementing the cloud-first Policy? Start with e-mail,” Federal Computer Week, Posted on 12.17.2010.