Jan 08 2020

Why Agencies Cling to Outdated Data Centers

A clear majority of government IT professionals think their agencies need to make more effective data center migration decisions, according to a recent survey.

Although federal agencies have made significant progress in closing and modernizing their data centers, only six of the 24 Chief Financial Officers Act agencies have achieved their data center closure goals, according to the federal IT Dashboard

That makes sense in light of a recently released MeriTalk report, “Infrastructure Psychology: Overvaluing Outdated Data Centers,” based on a survey of 215 government and industry IT decision-makers registered for the AWS Public Sector Summit last June. 

According to the survey, nearly 3 in 4 respondents (74 percent) say their agency “holds onto outdated data centers longer than they should.” Meanwhile, more than half (62 percent) say their agency “needs to make more effective data center migration decisions.” 

There are a wide range of reasons that agencies seem to be clinging to outdated data center technology. Just 32 percent of agencies have formally assessed the value of their data centers in the past year (compared to 49 percent of industry respondents). 

Federal IT pros provided many reasons for sticking with outdated data centers. Those include that “it will be too expensive” to change (51 percent), that they “need to keep essential data/processes under our control” (46 percent), and that “it will take too long to migrate” (41 percent). 

There are several key elements that come into play when IT pros are assessing data center value. Those include the amount of mission-critical data/systems contained (72 percent), cost of data storage equipment (65 percent), and server utilization rates (56 percent)

What Factors Drive Feds to the Cloud?

Practically all IT decision-makers surveyed (93 percent) say they are taking steps towards data center modernization. There are clear shifts to the cloud. More than half (57 percent) have moved an application to the cloud and 44 percent have closed at least one data center.

Cloud-based infrastructure cost (68 percent) is the leading factor when IT pros are deciding to migrate to the cloud, followed by the time needed to migrate (59 percent) and labor costs (54 percent). 

The top motivators to moving to the cloud include the traditional benefits of shifting to cloud-based services: increased scalability, agility/flexibility and cost savings.

Survey respondents see the ideal IT infrastructure as secure (89 percent), reliable (82 percent) and scalable (67 percent).

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