Across the world there are new opportunities for data center and IT consulting companies to capitalize on the consolidation projects being launched in the Government sector. Like commercial enterprises, governments focusing on governance (no pun intended) of IT see the benefits of consolidation of the data processing footprint. Also like commercial enterprises, governments have business silos (perhaps even more so than commercial enterprises), with duplication of functions and roles, overlapping systems and technology, as well as lots and lots of waste. Consolidation portends cost savings through elimination of non-beneficial redundancies, and better application of good governance processes to the holistic IT environment.
In the government sector, these projects are big. Really big. In this second of the series, we’ll focus on the UK government’s data center consolidation activities.
The UK government’s plan for a massive information technology transformation, including major data center consolidations, was announced in January of this year by the Cabinet Office. UK CIO John Suffolk articulated the vision for cloud-based government services through what is referred to as the “G Cloud.”
The underpinning notion of this consolidation is for a smarter, cheaper, and greener public sector infrastructure. Total savings are estimated at £3.2B annually. Of that, £300M is estimated by consolidation of 130 data centers into 10-to-12 sites. According to Suffolk, this does not imply a wholesale closing of data center space, because of the fact that contracts for space are not coterminous. Instead, the first step is to stop building new data centers, and work with existing providers to rationalize current resources and planning for termination or modification at the time of contract expiration. In the end, focus is on a 3-5 year timeline for delivery of a consolidated number of highly secure and resilient facilities, managed by expert suppliers.
The opportunity for the data center services provider is several fold. First, the planning effort for the consolidation is significant, which of course goes without saying. Secondly, while the current state of government sector data centers is rather dated, contemporary wholesale and colocation facilities have the security and resiliency features that the public sector would like to build. Demonstration of value and expertise will help to win the way. Given the state of data center capacity today in the UK, wholesale and colocation providers will need to strategically plan how this opportunity fits with overall Sales targets.