Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Data centers, security among key concerns for departing federal CIO
Vivek Kundra, federal CIO, is set to leave his government position shortly to take on a fellowship at Harvard University. In a recent discussion with the President and other important individuals at the White House, Kundra explored many of the issues he has dealt with during his tenure and specifically addressed data center issues and related security practices, Computerworld reports.
According to the report, data center consolidation was one of the areas that Kundra mentioned during the important discussion.
Throughout his time as federal CIO, Kundra emphasized the importance of data center consolidation and initiated a far-reaching plan that will see the federal government consolidate many of its small data centers into more efficient facilities.
Data center consolidation typically involves virtualizing servers to improve utilization rates. This reduces the amount of server hardware needed to perform tasks, and reduces the data center's footprint. However, doing this means that data is more densely packed in the facility, meaning network-related upgrades and enhancements to other supporting systems are needed to support consolidation.
During the event, Kundra said he thinks the federal government can operate while using just a few data centers, according to the report.
Kundra also addressed data security issues, a problem closely aligned to data center processes. He explained that the government is becoming more interested in sharing data between departments, increasing the amount of information being transmitted between data centers and other facilities. Kundra said this sharing can present significant value for many departments. However, he also warned that improved access to more information will make federal data more insecure.
As a result, Kundra said the government needs to address security concerns that could arise in the data center and with personnel when more information is made available throughout government agencies. He said social media is especially threatening in this area, as it can lead to identifying information being revealed.
As more federal agencies work to consolidate their data center footprint within secure operational protocols, IT leaders need to identify ways to take the value gained from consolidation and apply it to other areas. According to a MeriTalk study, many federal IT officials are struggling to clearly establish the financial benefits they are gaining from consolidation. This is making it difficult to capitalize on the strategy because budgets cannot be accurately adjusted.