Data center closed in Maryland, HHS photoIn a new effort to reduce duplication and ensure the U.S. government operates more efficiently, 137 federal data centers have been identified by the Obama Administration as unnecessary overlap and scheduled for shut down this year.

The planned consolidation of these and hundreds of other data centers over the next four and a half years is expected to save more than $3 billion for American taxpayers.

Since 1998, the number of Federal data centers has risen from 432 to more than 2,000, according to Vivek Kundra, the Federal Chief Information Officer.

“The proliferation of infrastructure has created an environment that enables redundant systems and applications to sprout like weeds – with hundreds of redundant applications, more than 24,000 websites and hundreds of HR and financial management systems across the government.”

To crack down on the wasteful spending, Kundra announced last week his agency’s plans to close 137 data centers by the end of 2011, of which 39 have already been shut down.

“HHS is shutting down a data center in Rockville, Maryland that is 14,992 square feet and requires $1.2 million annually for electricity costs alone,” said Kundra.

In total, the agency plans to shutdown at least 800 data centers nationwide, some 40% of its inventory.

Photo: HHS Data center closed in Maryland 

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