White House continues "Campaign to Cut Waste"
Yesterday, the White House announced another initiative under its Campaign to Cut Waste. The campaign, introduced by the President last month, is intended to search for and eliminate wasteful government spending. In video message released to kick off the program, the President explains, ““No amount of waste is acceptable – not when it’s your money; not at a time when so many families are already cutting back.”
Shortly after the campaign was launched, the White House said it would move to eliminate 1,000 “duplicate and unnecessary” government websites as part of the program. Now the administration is turning its attention to duplicative data centers. The White House blog laments that instead of following technological trends to decrease the size of data servers and reduce the number of facilities used to house them, the government has, in fact, done the opposite.
Jeffrey Zients, Federal Chief Performance Officer and the Office of Management and Budget’s Deputy Director for Management, explains:
Between 1998 and 2010, the Federal government quadrupled the number of data centers we operate. Moreover, on average these centers have been using only 27 percent of their computer power even though taxpayers are footing the bill for the entire infrastructure, real estate and energy costs. The need for backup power supplies, environmental controls (air conditioning, fire suppression, etc.) and special security devices mean that data centers can consume 200 times as much electricity as standard office spaces.
While such inefficiency is unacceptable at anytime, cracking down on waste is particularly important in these challenging budgetary times.
[I]n 2012, we will shut down 178 data centers, bringing us to a total of 373 data centers that will be shut down by the end of 2012. We are closing 195 data centers in this calendar year, of which 81 have already been shut down. This represents substantial progress towards our goal of shutting down more than 800 data centers by 2015, a move that is expected to save taxpayers more than $3 billion.
Amid the ongoing debt ceiling and deficit reduction negotiations, it’s encouraging to see the White House making a concerted effort to reduce wasteful spending and handle taxpayer money more responsibly.