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Government The Almighty Buck United States

US Government Data Center Count Rises To 7,000 48

Posted by timothy
from the pretty-soon-you're-talking-real-money dept.
miller60 writes "The U.S. government keeps finding more data centers. Federal agencies have about 7,000 data centers, according to the latest stats from the ongoing IT consolidation process. The number started at 432 in 1999, but soon began to rise as agencies found more facilities, and exploded once the Obama administration decided to include server closets as well as dedicated data centers. The latest estimate is more than double the 3,300 facilities the government thought it had last year. The process has led to the closure of 484 data centers thus far, with another 855 planned over the next year. The GAO continues to call for the process to look beyond the number of facilities and focus on savings."
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US Government Data Center Count Rises To 7,000

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  • by houstonbofh (602064) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @12:39PM (#44382633)
    Yep. The saving of all of your data transmitted over the internet, or on a cell phone. Lots of saving going on.
  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdo ... g ['ish' in gap]> on Thursday July 25, 2013 @12:42PM (#44382651)

    If you count every group of servers stashed in an office somewhere as a "data center", most big companies have thousands. Tech companies may take things slightly more seriously, but big non-tech companies have data scattered everywhere, often in poorly organized network drives full of Excel spreadsheets and Word docs. That's why you end up with things like a petrochemical company losing blueprints [slashdot.org] when an office moves and some random machines get lost in the shuffle.

    • by SJHillman (1966756) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @12:52PM (#44382771)

      "If you count every group of servers stashed in an office somewhere as a "data center", most big companies have thousands. "

      My office is officially a data center. One of our legacy 2000 servers, with only fan fan still working (barely), has been in my office since January while the main and secondary server rooms undergo renovation. With the fans dead, it makes for a pretty quiet office mate. It also gives me an excuse to keep my office's a/c cranked down low.

      We also have a couple of servers that we're not sure where they are. They're on the network, they work fine, we just don't know where they're physically located anymore...

      • by sys_mast (452486) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @01:40PM (#44383265)

        ....Off topic, but in response to parents "lost" servers.

        Since you know they are online you must have the IP. If you have any decent manageable switch gear you should be able to trace down what switch port it is connected to. At that point follow the cable.

        The commands;
        show mac
        show arp
        pipe into an include filter for the IP and MAC, those commands are your best friends ;)

        • by Anonymous Coward

          My favorite part is when you find it on the switch, find the cable, follow it into a cable tray, back out under the floor of the facility, up a conduit in the wall and through a hole to the next server room with 300 other lines...Just shoot me.

      • by NatasRevol (731260) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @01:40PM (#44383267) Journal

        Have them beep until someone locates them.

      • Chances are they are now drywalled in somewhere and inaccessible without a rooster bar.

      • We had a similar situation, while working at a large bank we migrated all OUR stuff off of an old server onto a shiny new one. We thought we were the only ones using the server, so once we were done we switched it off. Got a call a couple of days later from across the country - please switch the server back on. Someone had written a C++ reporting tool for clearcase and deployed it to the machine, done some whack sort of configuration on the machine to get it to work. When we tried to migrate it to the n
  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Thursday July 25, 2013 @12:42PM (#44382665)

    The bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of the expanding bureauacracy. Slow news day on Slashdot? This is like saying "Congress is screwing up the country again." Well, duh. I could live in a cave and still call that one.

    • by kermidge (2221646)

      Well, you know how it is. One day somebody figures it'd be handy to store some stuff, so some extra hard drives get bought. Then it'd be handy to set up an old machine to serve the stuff out instead of going in through somebody's shared folder. Then a few more hard drives are added, maybe a UPS. The assemblage is stuck in a corner, maybe next to someone's desk - hey, stick it in that closet down the hall, or in the copy-machine room, or in the unused whatever room next to the break room. Et voilà,

  • I guess that if you love intercepting & storing people's supposedly _private_ data, then you need more and more data centers to do that. ------ 50 years from now, high school students will be given an assignment to research our current "data interception craze", and those students will have a tough time understanding what happened in 2013. -----
    • by Trepidity (597)

      This is more about ad-hoc/inefficient/poorly-maintained storage of stuff on scattered servers, not bulk storage.

      The NSA, by contrast, actually has relatively few data centers, just a few large and well-provisioned ones. They're not storing your stuff on random Windows servers parked in the corner of an office, which is more what this initiative is trying to identify and reduce.

  • Fortunately for the American, government workers are overall inefficient and bad at their jobs. Therefore, I would safely assume that 65% of these data centers are "down for maintenance" and another 30% are experiencing "technical difficulties", meaning the 5% of data centers are actually storing anything.

    But alas, not all is lost. Since these government workers at the data centers have little/nothing to do, they hang out on Slashdot.

  • So for every local or branch office that has a WAN router and a domain controller is now the same as a 500,000 sq ft data center?

    • According to the testimony by the General Services Administration's director [house.gov], a data center is

      now defined as “a closet, room, floor or building for the storage, management, and dissemination of data and information. Such a repository houses computer systems and associated components, such as database, application, and storage systems and data stores. A data center generally includes redundant or backup power supplies, redundant data communications connections, environmental controls (air conditioning, fire suppression) and special security devices housed in leased (including by cloud providers), owned, collocated, or stand-alone facilities.

  • What do they mean by server closets? If it's less than 10 racks it certainly isn't a data center.

    If they give it all to Amazon or Rackspace they could save a fortune. There is no way any government agency could run data centers for anything near what Amazon is charging.

    • 10 racks can be 1000 servers.

      I'd do it by some other criteria.

    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      That's the whole problem. American government services are being run on computers that aren't in a secure data center. They just take a box, put it on a server, give it a domain name, and Bob's your uncle. There are no backups being done. There's no backup generator. There aren't multiple upstream providers to ensure they are always connected to the outside world. Stuff that should be in proper data centers is just shoved away in a closet somewhere. With the number of servers they have, they should real
      • by oodaloop (1229816)
        That might make sense for servers connected to the internet, not so much for the other 36 or so intranets that DIA alone manages, like SIPRNET, JWICS, etc.
    • by Kr1ll1n (579971)

      I would argue less than 100 racks.

      10x48=480u (52 is max U's, but 42-48 is standard).

      smallest servers are 1u.

      1k servers can be a medium-size corporations server room, but not a datacenter, by any stretch of the imagination.

  • "The number started at 432 in 1999, but soon began to rise as agencies found more facilities, and exploded once the Obama administration decided to include server closets as well as dedicated data centers. The latest estimate is more than double the 3,300 facilities the government thought it had last year." So basically by redefining what they consider a data center, there was an "explosion" in the statistics. Except they were already paying for all 7000 data centers. If anything, this should make closin
  • by fazey (2806709)
    You know... I would really like for them to not be able to use my tax dollars to track me. It's rather insulting really...
  • Tell me, with all this and the news of the massive NSA metadata trolling (even outsourcing to private companies), can anyone explain to me why U.S. veterans are waiting for years just to have their medical claims even looked at let alone processed in even the smallest way?

    Anyone? Anyone at all?

  • I was working in one department of the government and we were building our own data centre around 2004 because the cost of using the shared services (the group set up for all departments to share IT infrastructure) was astronomical. It was far cheaper for us to build our own data centre, put in new servers, and hire the support staff. Basically the people running the shared services thought that they could charge what ever they wanted because the departments were not able to outsource to anyone else. And

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