To achieve data center consolidation, Army looks first at application sprawl

Just about every organization within the federal government is now focused squarely on achieving significant data center consolidation. Doing so not only can simplify data management efforts and improve business processes, but also may deliver tremendous cost savings.

The U.S.Army is no exception. However, before it grapples with data center consolidation head-on, the Army first intends to take steps to contain application sprawl, Data Center Knowledge's Jason Verge reported.

Application issues
As the writer noted, the U.S. Army intends to complete its data center migration by the end of fiscal year 2018, according to a memo recently issued by Under Secretary of the Army Brad Carson. This will involve the consolidation of more than 1,100 data centers.

To this end, the Army has begun to move all of its enterprise applications, along with the systems that host them, onto a select group of core data centers, Verge reported.

This is a wise move, according to the writer. He noted there are a number applications, such as Microsoft Outlook, that are used across every agency within the Department of Defense. However, despite the ubiquity of these programs, they are not hosted within the same data center. This results in significant inefficiencies.

"By consolidating applications that are in widespread usage but hosted in multiple locations, the Army stands to gain from a leaner infrastructure but also from economies of scale, as many applications are priced by volume," Verge explained.

He also emphasized that application consolidation can lead to superior security management. It is far easier to identify and block threats when there is a centralized network, rather than one that sprawls.

In addition to moving applications into centralized data centers, the Army is also eliminating many unused apps. Currently, the Army has 11,000 applications in use, of which 800 unused ones have been terminated, according to David Vergun of the Army News Service.

Naval efforts
The Army is not the only branch of the armed forces that is making concrete progress toward achieving data center consolidation. Last month, the U.S. Navy announced that it has issued the first of several contracts designed to help the organization in this capacity, Federal News Radio reported.

This contract is part of the first tier of the Navy's Data Center and Application Optimization program. As with the Army, this program aims to reduce the number of applications in use by the Navy, along with the total data center network.

"We're going to end up moving 7,000 or so systems and applications into data centers. We're going to need a lot of commercial hosting to do that and a lot of commercial services to make that work," explained Vice Adm. Ted Branch, deputy chief of naval operations for information dominance, the news source reported.

As the deadlines for federal data center consolidation approach, similar efforts are likely to pick up steam.