September 22, 2011
By Michael Houghton 2
data center consolidationWhen you think about data centers, what usually comes to mind are large Fortune 500 companies—with lots of business-critical data to process, share and store. But another big owner of data centers is the federal government. For government VARs, now is the time to bring your “A-game” to the federal marketplace, and here’s why.
About 18 months ago, the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative (FDCCI) was created to, among other things, determine how many data centers the federal government was operating. Based on a report dated July 30, 2010, the group concluded there were a total of 2,094 federal data centers—a number that would later be recognized as a 350 percent increase during a 12-year period! Even the government folks could see they were suffering from a bad case of infrastructure sprawl, so they made plans to develop data center reduction targets for all government agencies.
In late 2010, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released a plan that set a target for reducing the number of data centers by 40 percent as early as 2015. Along with that goal, the FDCCI was also aiming to promote the use of “green IT” by reducing overall energy consumption; reducing the real estate footprint of federal data centers; lowering the cost of data center operations; increasing IT security; and shifting IT investments to more efficient computing platforms and technologies. Opportunity was born.
The New Solutions Landscape
When an organization as large as the federal government bids a project, opportunity knocks. When the project is a data center consolidation project of this magnitude, the knock can be deafening. This time around, however, the solution won’t just be a smaller number of data centers; that will be part of it, but there’s more.
The focus on this consolidation will be data center IT software assets which include middleware (database servers, Web servers, application servers, message queues, directory systems, as well as other middleware). As a result, the key opportunities will be applications, operating systems, and VM infrastructure.
Data center hardware assets are also a target—everything from storage and servers/mainframes to high-speed networks. Perhaps the biggest feature of the new federal data center will be increased use of cloud computing, followed by networking, storage, security, virtualization, mobility and unified computing. Cloud spending, alone, is expected to approach $20 billion in the near future. And don’t forget services. There are huge opportunities to attach services to these data center technologies—services that span the IT lifecycle from planning, to deploying and managing, to disposing of obsolete assets.
While cloud computing will play a major role in the new government data center landscape, other, more traditional technologies will also provide opportunities for solution providers. Data center and desktop virtualization solutions will be needed in the new federal data centers, as well as advanced storage and consolidation solutions. Present, too, will be mobility and telework options and even social media integration. Oh, and wrapped around all of this will be the need for security, on the network and in the Cloud.
Past, Present and Future
While the FDCCI’s consolidation plans were released in early 2011, many of the projects are slated to run well into 2012. An initiative of this scope has many moving pieces, so savvy government VARs should keep a watchful eye on the procurement process surrounding these consolidation efforts. At Avnet, we’re encouraging partners to contact our GovPath solutions team to be sure they’re aware of all available government IT opportunities. Leveraging our SolutionsPath methodology, Avnet’s government sales experts can help partners successfully grow their data center businesses in the government and education space, as well as other profitable verticals.
Houghton_Michael-smHappy [solutions] selling!
Michael Houghton is VP of vertical market solutions for Avnet Technology Solutions, Americas. Monthly guest blogs such as this one are part of The VAR Guy’s annual sponsorship. Read all of Houghton’s guest blogs here.
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