FBI Data Center Efficiency Program the Way of the Future?

digidreamgrafix/Shutterstock.com

A pilot effort in West Virginia may become a model across the Justice Department.

The FBI is looking for a contractor to make its Criminal Justice Information System data center in Clarksburg, W.Va., process data and burn energy more efficiently, contracting documents show.

If the pilot proves successful, the FBI may consolidate programs and services from less efficient data centers into the Clarksburg location, which could become a model for data centers across the FBI and the Justice Department, according to the solicitation posted Monday.

The government is three years into a massive campaign to consolidate software and services from outdated centers into a smaller number of sleeker, more efficient centers or into private-sector computer clouds.

The FBI solicitation reflects a recent shift in methodology from federal Chief Information Officer Steven VanRoekel to focus less on reducing the raw number of government data centers and more on reducing energy and data costs from centers that remain. The solicitation’s statement of objectives includes detailed specifications for how servers must operate, how much energy they can burn and technology that should be used to measure and reduce energy waste.

Because of the FBI’s work with classified and law enforcement information, its consolidation process is likely to be more complicated than for some other agencies.

The Government Accountability Office has been increasingly critical of VanRoekel’s office for losing focus on the data center consolidation initiative and for not forcing agencies to comply with reporting requirements. GAO information technology chief David Powner has praised the focus on energy efficiency but warned that efficiency alone won’t yield savings if the number of data centers isn’t reduced drastically.

There are more than 6,000 federal data centers, according to the most recent estimates. They range from the size of a small closet to that of a football field.

VanRoekel and Powner are scheduled to testify about the consolidation initiative before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Thursday morning. 

(Image via digidreamgrafix/Shutterstock.com)

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