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U.S. State Department advocates modular data centre strategy

Mon 31 Oct 2016

The U.S. Department of State is migrating its IT assets from leased data centre facilities to modular centres on government-owned property.

In line with Federal consolidation initiatives, the agency has moved out of an 11,000 sq.ft. facility to an 800 sq.ft. modular data centre. ‘We’ve been able to make many gains and leaps and bounds here,’ said Melonie Parker-Hill, division chief of the State Department’s Enterprise Operations Center.

Melonie-Parker-HillAccording to Parker-Hill, the department is planning to purchase two further modular data centres. She added that there were no capacity issues in migrating into the new modular facility, and only a few modifications were necessary to accommodate the data centres on government property.

‘I won’t say everything that was in the 11,000 square is going into the 800 square but just about,’ Parker-Hill told a conference audience in Washington, DC.

The division head explained that many organisations, both industry and federal, had been involved in the acquisition of the modular data centre – which, from the order, took between six and eight weeks to fully deploy.

While Parker-Hill commented that there was a lot to coordinate between federal and state governments, she noted that the project ran smoothly and the department did not ‘run into any problems.’

Parker-Hill argued that government schemes, including the Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI), are beneficial for ‘catapulting’ federal agencies that are perhaps struggling with optimising their infrastructure. She suggested that adopting a modular approach would allow more agencies to achieve scalability, reduce waste, and ensure faster delivery of service.

A similar consolidation initiative was announced at the conference by the Department of Justice, which has achieved a 64% reduction in its data centre portfolio since 2010. Speaking on behalf of the agency, its data centre transformation program manager Mark Busby said that the department plans to reduce its data centre footprint to three physical facilities by 2019.

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