Uncle Sam's IT bods find 2,000 data centers they FORGOT about

Can't consolidate until we stop discovering lost ones

US government agencies are being called out by Congress after it was revealed that they are falling woefully short in data center consolidation efforts.

Earlier this month, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that the number of data centers the American administration runs has gone up, in part because an additional 2,000 data centers have been found that agencies previously had not been aware of.

The revelations were made earlier this month when the Congressional Subcommittees on Information Technology and Government Operations called hearings to check on the progress of the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA), an initiative designed to reduce government IT spending.

Congress found that, by and large, federal agencies were failing to meet the requirements of the act, including requirements for reducing the number of data centers they operate.

Part of the reason for this, the GAO says, is another 2,000 data centers that have been added to the ranks, cancelling out the facilities closed down by the consolidation effort. The facilities, it seems, had not previously been included in the reports the various government agencies had provided to the US Office of Management and Budget, thus giving a low estimate of the total government data center ranks from the get-go.

"In a series of reports, we found that, while data center consolidation could potentially save the federal government billions of dollars, weaknesses existed in the execution and oversight of the initiative," GAO IT management issues director David Powner told Congress in what seems to be a major understatement.

Data centers are just one of several parts of the IT picture that government agencies seem to have trouble keeping track of. In October it was found that 1,300 PCs running Windows XP could not be updated for the simple fact that nobody knew where they were. ®

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