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Obama Administration Closing Recently Opened Datacenters 262

Posted by timothy
from the breaking-eggs-for-omelet-stimulus dept.
An anonymous reader writes "After quadrupling the number of government datacenters over his first three years, Obama's Administration is reversing course and closing the most recently opened datacenters. With one datacenter reportedly the size of three football fields, my question is what happens to all those recently purchased servers? Will the government hold a server fire sale? Count me in!"
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Obama Administration Closing Recently Opened Datacenters

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  • Gubmint in Action: (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Cornwallis (1188489)

    Ready, Fire, Aim!

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Fire! Ready? Aim.

      FTFY

    • by sycodon (149926)

      The Government is off its meds.

      Only that could account for the schizoid policy decisions.

    • by ischorr (657205)

      There is a bit of a mandate at the moment to reduce government debt/growth. There's far too much dysfunctional, ideological infighting to do this effectively or efficiently.

      Since we apparently can't reduce ANY spending to the military (a few less $1B planes?) or on a variety of wars, and our economy would collapse if we ended recent tax breaks on the rich, the money has to come from SOMEwhere. One of those places is IT spending. Another is NASA. Another is medical research grants. (And a variety of sci

      • by wsxyz (543068)

        There is a bit of a mandate at the moment to reduce government debt/growth. There's far too much dysfunctional, ideological infighting to do this effectively or efficiently.

        Since we apparently can't reduce ANY spending to the military (a few less $1B planes?) or on a variety of wars

        Talk to Leon Panetta about that one.

      • by operagost (62405)

        Since we apparently can't reduce ANY spending to the military

        Wrong. $350 billion was just cut in the BCA, with about 600 billion more if other cuts are not agreed on by the deadline. Far too little, of course, but a start. An average of $35 billion a year is, indeed, 35 of your planes.

      • by Gilmoure (18428)

        If they got rid of two of the tires on each gov't vehicle, I bet they could save a lot of money.

        Hey, I just made my first car anthology!

      • by fafaforza (248976)

        Sure, cuts are on the table these days. But how silly is it to spend millions to build datacenters only to shut them down? I just hope they sell them at a market price or rent them out. Maybe hire a management company to put customers in there. What a waste it would be. This is real money from everyone's pocket that's used to build a datacenter that will sit dormant. None of us would build a house just to let it sit empty.

  • Timing... (Score:5, Informative)

    by BWJones (18351) * on Thursday August 11, 2011 @03:35PM (#37060872) Homepage Journal

    The wording of this post makes it seem as though the data centers were initiated via policies of the Obama administration. However, the reality is that the data center expansion occurred during the policy of the previous Bush administration with funding requested in 2006, approved in 2007 and implementation initiated in 2008 a full year before the Obama administration took office. The Obama administration approved the continuation of the policy in 2009 and 2010 and are currently altering the data center strategy.

    • Re:Timing... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by astrodoom (1396409) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @03:46PM (#37061062)
      So what you're saying is that the qaudrupling over the last 2 years WAS from the obama administration's continuation of the policy, but they didn't start the policy?

      idk, I'm all for specificity, but that seems a bit nitpicky. Either way, they're cutting the data centers now, which is a great move for cutting waste since they're running at 27% utilization. Sad that it means cutting the jobs associated with those data centers, but at least it's a step in the right direction.

      • Re:Timing... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by bennomatic (691188) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @03:53PM (#37061168) Homepage
        Have you ever worked for an organization larger than 1000 employees? Larger than 10,000? I don't know how many people are employed by the federal government, but it's a lot. And there are a lot of programs that have interwoven dependencies. Whether you think that the government should be smaller or not, whether you think that all the programs are worthwhile or not, big decisions have big implications, and it's not usual for large organizations to take several years to make a decision and even longer to implement them.

        To that end, it's entirely possible that these datacenters were planned during the Bush years based on policy decisions made in the Clinton era, which were in turn affected by the Reagan/Bush1 years. Wings of a butterfly and all.

        The point of the GP was not, as far as I can tell, "BUSH BAD OBAMA GOOD!", but rather, "This is not an example of a bad decision made in haste and reversed in haste."
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by jhoegl (638955)
          Republicans dont care if Bush started it, in their eyes anything Obama does is bad, even if it is along their beliefs or party lines, or what Fox News said they should do previous to him actually doing it.

          Troll me if you want, but I am tired of this back and forth nitpicky. Get the fuck off your high horse and look at the individual, not the party.
          Know your history, party centric nations oriented in pride and blind following lead to bad things. You should all know the wars that were fought, and continue
          • by wsxyz (543068)
            Nice sentiment, but what do you do when one party sees universal health insurance as tyranny and the other sees for-profit health insurance as oppression?
            • by Qzukk (229616)

              Try and figure out how to make healthcare affordable enough that you don't need the government or some other insurance company to pay for it for you?

              • by Wovel (964431)

                You're to reasonable. GTFO before you ruin /.

              • People have in universities and think tanks and other places across the land forever. Google it. There's enough ideas already out there to cobble something together that's a fair mix of public and private and actually works as well as you're ever going to achieve.

                The good ideas exist, but good ideas and hope and rainbows and morning dew are not going to make a dent.

                The problem is that you're up against forces that can see either a politician's funding cut off, or heavy funding going to his main opponent. Bo

            • by hedwards (940851)

              Look for ways to fund education.

              • by wsxyz (543068)
                Are you claiming that one position is objectively right and the other objectively wrong, so that a little objective education will solve the problem? Please...

                Or maybe you're just advocating ideological indoctrination of children. Nah, no one would ever get away with that...
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Jeremy Erwin (2054)

            We are USA, we are individuals coming together for a common goal, to live free from oppression and tyranny. Yet governanced by the majority (supposed to be). Remember your individuality before you "tow the line".

            All right! Let's start stringing together propagandistic boilerplate into poorly constructed, meaningless sentences!

          • by Svartalf (2997)

            Excuse me...aren't you guilty of the same thing right now?

          • Republicans dont care if Bush started it, in their eyes anything Obama does is bad, even if it is along their beliefs or party lines, or what Fox News said they should do previous to him actually doing it.

            You're correct, but that cuts both ways. Allow me to demonstrate:

            Democrats dont[sic] care if Clinton started it, in their eyes anything Bush does is bad, even if it is along their beliefs or party lines, or what MSNBC said they should do previous to him actually doing it.

            Troll me if you want, but I am tired of this back and forth nitpicky. Get the fuck off your high horse and look at the individual, not the party.

            I'd rather not be trolled either, but I too am tired of the back-and-forth bickering. I'm also tired of the feigned outrage and rhetoric that both sides utilize. The Republicans claimed the Democrats were going to kill grandma with death pa

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by LordLimecat (1103839)

            Republicans dont care if Bush started it, in their eyes anything Obama does is bad, even if it is along their beliefs or party lines

            Were that a fair accusation to level as broadly as you have-- and its not fair-- I would remark that it would be a kind of tit-for-tat for everything Bush has taken the blame for that isnt his fault.

            For example--

            • Starting 2 wars without congressional authorization (he had full authorization for both; Obama has started a new war with NO congressional authorization)
            • Implementing the full body scanners (these were done under Obama's watch, with an Obama-elected TSA head and DHS head)
            • Causing the market to crash
        • by sycodon (149926)

          Stuff like this is largely out of the hands of a President. It's part and parcel of the whole Ship of State thing. The Captain only gets to point which way to go. Things go on below desks that he has no clue or real control over.

          We are being ruled by bureaucrats.

      • by sjames (1099)

        The alternative is that at each change of president, we halt all government activity for 3 years and have everyone twiddle their thumbs while new policies are written, and then run those policies for the 4th year.

        Any incoming president is obligated by logistics/reality to make carrying on with whatever was happening before the default state. It's highly doubtful that even a 2 term president could find time to review the entire federal government before leaving office even if that was the only duty of the of

      • over the last 2 years WAS from the obama administration's continuation of the policy, but they didn't start the policy?

        Just like the Bush tax cuts, wars in Iraq & Afganistan, and massive military spending.

      • by kenh (9056)

        Too bad Obama wasn't in the Senate to influence these decisions... Oh, wait... [wikipedia.org]

      • The federal data center consolidation effort began early in the Obama administration. After nearly a year of planning, the effort kicked off in March 2010 [slashdot.org]. Many of these older data centers predate the Bush administration. Plenty of blame to go around, but Obama and his IT team have been the first to attempt to tackle a consolidation effort.
      • by hairyfeet (841228)

        Obama was trying to do the classic Keynesian response to an economy in a death spiral and that is for the government to make up for the loss of consumer spending. Well it failed, all it did was delay the inevitable. While they are afraid to say the word, like thinking if you don't say the name of the monster standing right behind you that will magically keep you safe, the simple fact is what they are gonna call a "double dip" is actually the beginnings of a worldwide depression.

        In this case we have allowed

    • When has that ever stopped political finger pointing.

      Logic and politics have nothing to do with each other, its all about finding the crazy excuse to support your guy. Who may or may not have anything really to do about any of the problems.

      During the Clinton Years The Right was saying how Clinton was befitting from all the long term improvements that Bush Sr and Reagan did years back. And now after a much prolonged recession the Left is still saying it was all Bush Jr. Fault, even after a period of Democrat

      • Seems that, for the most part, economic booms aren't tied to specific government intervention, manipulation, etc. Shocking.

        (i.e., the government can influence and manipulate the economy, but that doesn't appear to be the best way it happens; good economies seem to come not from government policy but from private enterprise and people creating goods/services that other people want...)

    • Cloud First (Score:4, Insightful)

      by recoiledsnake (879048) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @04:03PM (#37061320)

      This is probably related to the "Cloud First" strategy adopted by the outgoing CIO Vivek Kundra. http://fcw.com/articles/2011/02/28/buzz-cloud-computing-and-budget.aspx [fcw.com]

    • by bonch (38532) *

      The very first line of the article starts with "Over the last two years, the number of U.S. data centers has quadrupled." Obama took office more than two years ago. Just because the data centers were initiated under Bush, their quadrupling happened under Obama. You even acknowledge that Obama approved the continuation of the policy.

      So really, your post is meaningless because Obama approved the continuation of the policy, and the data centers quadrupled as a result. What does Bush have to do with that?

    • The chosen one has had almost a whole term - most of it with no political opposition whatsoever. It's time to accept the fact that he isn't any better than the last president.
    • by epine (68316)

      The wording of this post bends over backward to place no obstacle into the minds of unthinking ideologues in viewing the matter as though the data centers were initiated via policies of the Obama administration.

      FTFY. Despite the virtue of understatement, I'm not sure your obstacle-free version was making sufficient contact with the intended nerve ending. As you get older, you place less emphasis on being on the right side of the debate, and more emphasis on whether any effort is expended to move the debate

  • Stimulus. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wsxyz (543068) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @03:36PM (#37060890)
    After all of the equipment is sold for scrap at pennies on the dollar, they'll build the datacenters again. That's called stimulus in action.
    • by cayenne8 (626475)
      You're not too far off.

      Rather than auction off the servers or try to recoup some of their cost...if my past experience happens with these...they'll just be destroyed. Sad but true...I've seen it happen more than once. Rather than just take out the harddrives and destroy those and sell off or give away the hardware, it often is all destroyed as a matter of policy.

    • by Avatar8 (748465)
      I'll concur with Cayenne8 since I've dealt with closing a government data center in the past.

      Granted what I was involved with was migrating and upgrading, but I saw hundreds of perfectly usable, 1-3 year old servers stacked in the old data center, hard drives pulled and drilled and the servers sold to a scrap company.

      Complete and utter waste. I seriously doubt TFA servers will be treated any differently regardless of age.

      • by fafaforza (248976)

        And that's why many people are against raising taxes. There's so much waste happening in our government from pure incompetence. And that's not even mentioning malicious fraud. Paying more taxes is like giving money to a leader in Africa: you hope that just a fraction of it will end up going where it was meant to go.

  • This isn't the first time some federal government facility was built and then promptly discarded... Your efficient taxpayer's dollars at work.

    • by cruff (171569)

      Yes, the Superconducting Super Collider (SSC) was an excellent example of this behavior. The James Webb Telescope may be another. Admittedly, in these cases it is due to inaccurate budget and/or schedule estimates.

      • by Sta7ic (819090)
        SSC never went active, whereas these data centers went live, were monitored, and deemed to be excess infrastructure that didn't help the deficit. Something similar happened around here, with the Fast Flux Test Facility (FFTF). Could've been pumping out medical isotopes, but noooo, we needed to shut that thing down.
  • Data centres are so old hat these days.
  • Thanks Slashdot for posting an article that tells half the story so we can easily tell who's smart enough to look into the full story (Bush admin bought all those servers that we didn't need and Obama is saving us money by shutting them down).
    • by Chris Mattern (191822) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @04:15PM (#37061482)

      Actually, the article specifically says that servers quadrupled in the past two years under a policy approved by Obama (although it was started by Bush). So it was Obama who bought those servers. But, what the heck, you don't need to think when you know it's all Bush's fault!

      • by scumdamn (82357)
        Who funded the program?
        • by Svartalf (2997)

          Obama... It was started with Bush, but a President change doesn't place the current funding blame with the previous president like Obama and his supporters would like you to believe.

          • by geekoid (135745)

            Bush got us into Iraq
            Bush's Tax cut to the wealthy.

            This are the 2 reasons we have suck a large deficit. Add to the the pubs won't live up to there end of the bargain and let the tax cuts expire as they where planned to do.

            THIS is Bush/Cheney and the republicans fault, and it's a fucking quagmire.

            Just because bush could loose all the fiscal gain Clinton got us in 2 years, doesn't mean the results can be fixed in 2 years. As the experts have been saying, the results from the Bush administration will be felt f

      • by Svartalf (2997)

        Heh... You took my acerbic remark away from me there.

    • by BetaDays (2355424)
      Obama saving us money? Your kidding right? I have faith he is just getting rid of them so he can rent them off of someone else at a higher price. Or maybe he got in with Amazon to scale up as need with cloud services kind of like what United Kingdom is up to http://eu.techcrunch.com/2011/07/21/uk-government-now-using-huddles-platform-for-top-secret-documents/ [techcrunch.com]. Or the fact that Hillary Clinton is shipping US datacenter jobs off to Inda so we don't need a lot of computing power over here. http://www.zdnet.com [zdnet.com]
      • by geekoid (135745)

        federal spending increased -2.7% under Obama. So it's actually gone down, but lets not let facts interfere with your opinion.

        "So we will never know."
        unless , you know, bother to look into it.

        I don't know what is worse, that you took this:
        " Hillary Clinton is shipping US data center " from that article, or that you espouse an opinion without the larger context of her body of work.

    • by rubycodez (864176)
      no, obama continued the program and wasted money for years, and now while 2012 election is tooling up he and his admin gets a brain fart to shut them down. dumb-asses just like bush/cheney.
      • by geekoid (135745)

        It's not Obama, it's the budget cuts the were forced on us.

        They are being shit down because of the current republicans. They shouldn't be, and the government should be doing more of this with their data.

  • by markdowling (448297) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [gnilwod.kram]> on Thursday August 11, 2011 @04:07PM (#37061370)

    Cue yelling from Congresspeople whose datacentres are getting chopped.

    "Sack someone else! Cut somewhere else!"

  • There's a secret government project to convert all those servers into Bitcoin Mining Rigs.

    You didn't really think consumers were responsible for the shortage of high end AMD graphics cards, did you?

  • They will most likely sell the DC itself for a fraction of what it cost the taxpayers to build... Coincidentally, the company that gets the bargain new DC will probably have a few politicians on the board.

  • by ebunga (95613) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @04:28PM (#37061656) Homepage

    Due to national security, servers will be divided into those that hosted classified materials, and those that did not. Those that contained classified materials will be labeled as Securely Ensure Nonrecoverable Destruction To Ostensibly Completely Hinder Internationally Notorious Agents, but that's a bit long, so really they will be labeled with the acronym SENDTOCHINA. They will be melted down locally and then sold for scrap. Those that do not contain classified materials will be sold to China to help ease their demand for computing resources that they already build. These will be labeled Mutually Economic Lateral Trade. That too is a bit long, so the systems that should be sold to China will be labeled MELT.

  • they spend billions of dollars with such triviality it makes me dizzy
  • Surely the fiscally responsible approach is to shut down the oldest datacenters first. These will be least efficient and hence the savings will be greatest from shutting these down. The equipment in the newest ones will be the most valuable, but when selling it off, they will only get pennies on the dollar (and things like hard drives will be destroyed, not sold) so the increased revenue from selling the newer equipment will be minimal.

    Only reason for selling off the newest equipment: "connected" companies

    • by AK Marc (707885)
      Often the oldest will have the most complex services running. Shutting the new ones is much easier, and likely cheaper, than moving old services to the new center and shutting down the old one.
    • by geekoid (135745)

      "Surely the fiscally responsible approach is to shut down the oldest datacenters first."

      you've never done this on legacy large scale enterprise systems, have you?

      What make economic sense is to keep doing it and with time get rid of the older systems.

  • They virtualized it all onto a machine that the NSA has in a storage closet.

  • by roc97007 (608802) on Thursday August 11, 2011 @05:24PM (#37062454) Journal

    > Will the government hold a server fire sale? Count me in!"

    I would guess not. Rather than dilute the server market, negatively affect server manufacturers' profit margins and chance a bad news event, (and incidentally have to admit to bad planning) they'll crush the servers.

  • Oh come on (Score:4, Insightful)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland@ya ... m minus math_god> on Thursday August 11, 2011 @05:57PM (#37062868) Homepage Journal

    Obama move policy to a smarter government.
    republicans cut funding
    Obama's fault.

    The republicans are giong after ANYHTING Obama does. Why isn't everyoen getting pissed at that? This isn't a sie of the isle complaint. Even when Republican create a bill, and then when Obama agrees and says will sign sign it, the republicans who created the bill back out. WTF?

    There is a difference between having a debate and simple going against something because the president is for it.

    They would rather the country burned to the ground, the Obama getting elected again.
    I've been paying attention to politics since Reagan, and never has it been like this.

    Add to that a bunch of people who refuse to accept the established fact that austerity during a recession never works. Look at history.

    It's stupid.

    • "You want to see some really fucked up people? You should come to the debtors support group!" Look at your birth certificate and then look up the meaning of certificate, and take about five minutes thinking about why government does whatever it wants. I'll save you some time. Its because we deserve the treatment. Our parents literally (commercially anyway) give us away, flesh and blood to corporate government. Their house, their rules. End of story.
    • Honestly I wounder how Obama gets out of bed in the morning. It doesn't matter what he does, he is attacked for it. In his shoes I would jump in Airforce 1, make a quick withdrawal at Fort Knox, and take off for a nice out of the way island.
      Maybe send off a quick press release off wishing the American people good luck, because they need all the luck they can get.

      Of course I know this could never happen, but it makes an image that makes me smile.

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