Survey Finds Federal Consolidation Efforts are Increasing Data Center Complexity

Juniper Networks recently released a report on the impact of data center consolidation on the Federal government.  The report conducted by MeriTalk, highlights the increasing complexity created by the consolidation of Federal data centers with 60 percent of Federal data centers running 20 or more operating systems and 48 percent using 20 or more management software applications. With nearly 700 data centers still expected to close by 2015 to meet a Federal mandate, this growing IT complexity could jeopardize the scale and speed of budget savings.

Based on survey responses from more than 200 Federal information technology (IT) professionals, the report highlights a Federal consolidation conundrum.  Agencies execute data center consolidation initiatives to reduce the cost of technology to the taxpayer; however, those same consolidation initiatives result in significantly more complex data centers, that are more difficult to manage, inevitably impacting the potential savings created by consolidation.

"Federal data center consolidation will stall when the cost of managing the complexity approaches the savings captured from consolidation,” said Brian Roach, vice president, Federal sales, Juniper Networks.  “Some data centers may already be approaching the threshold; 16 percent of survey respondents run more than 100 operating systems and 20 percent do not know how many management applications they currently use."

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) mandates that the Federal government must reduce the number of data centers by 40 percent—representing approximately 800 data centers—by 2015. However, Federal IT professionals believe their computing needs will continue to grow.

Survey respondents:
  - Predict that their agencies will require 37 percent more computing capacity over the next five years; 
 -  Reveal that existing data centers are already at 61 percent of utilization—meaning that existing or new data centers will need to make          room for a 40 percent increase in demand
  -  Indicate that the increase in computing capacity will drive data center infrastructure to expand by 34 percent to meet that demand.

Extensive virtualization is also creating challenges for Federal IT professionals.  Though survey respondents note that they virtualize 38 percent of workloads today, 70 percent say that increased latency for applications and security services/policies is a problem.  Further, 69 percent report that the unpredictability of system latency is a problem.  With virtualization expected to handle 64 percent of workloads in Federal data centers by 2015, both latency and unpredictability will compound the challenge for Federal IT professionals.

 “The success of consolidation efforts to meet the OBM mandate rests largely on the ability to radically simplify today’s existing and new data centers in the next 12 months,” continued Roach. “Agencies must strive for a clean sheet approach to solving the problem and consider a solution that delivers scalability and ease of use without sacrificing efficiency and performance.”

The full Federal Consolidation Conundrum report is available for download at: <> .  Based upon the concerns highlighted in the report, Juniper Networks will host a series of executive events focused on equipping Federal IT professionals with the processes and tools needed to simplify their data centers. 

Juniper Networks will host a webinar at 2 p.m. on Aug. 16, 2011 and a half-day forum on Sept. 13, 2011.  For more information, please visit:

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