Shrinking Data Centers Offer States Cost Savings, IT Efficiencies

As more states seek to grab the benefits of consolidation, these tips can smooth the process.

Server migration, virtualization and the cloud have reaped dividends for state and local governments everywhere.

For the state of Ohio, for instance, a massive data center consolidation initiative has already saved more than $100 million since 2016.

The optimized environment boasts room for city and county governments, Ohio State University and the University of Cincinnati, among other universities. Only a decade ago, just 14 ­percent of states had completed enterprise data center consolidation. But today, 58 percent of states plan to downsize their data centers, and the remainder have already done so, ­according to NASCIO's recently published report: “Shrinking State Data Centers: A Playbook for Enterprise Data Center Consolidation.”

The same benefits that drew early adopters to centralize ­computing cost savings and efficiencies continue to appeal today. Beyond the bottom line, ­consolidated data centers also tend to strengthen security and improve continuity of operations. But like the downsizing projects of yesteryear, shrinking the data center can be a ­complicated and lengthy endeavor.

Ample Planning Smooths Consolidation Efforts

State CIOs ready to embark on initiatives to shutter ­scattered data centers would do well to heed the advice of their peers.

“Having just completed the ­process of enterprise data center consolidation in Oklahoma, I can verify both the benefits as well as the detailed planning that is required,” says Bo Reese, president of NASCIO and Oklahoma CIO.

“NASCIO’s­ ­playbook will be a welcome tool to states who are early in the process.”

Below are 10 tips from the playbook for ­consolidation-based on lessons learned by state IT leaders from east to west:

  1. Understand what’s needed.
  2. Engage stakeholders early and continuously.
  3. Create a roadmap with reasonable milestones set in waves.
  4. Document the baseline of assets.
  5. Conduct a spend analysis.
  6. Address cost allocation and funding issues.
  7. Implement standards where they exist.
  8. Manage expectations and expect surprises.
  9. Make it sustainable.
  10. Capture and report cost savings.

"It's really a no-brainer in terms of deliverables," says Utah CIO Mike Hussey in the report. "Why spend money on distributed data centers when you can use that money to improve services."

Tommy Lee Walker/Getty Images
Mar 16 2018