October 7, 2011 – The federal government is delivering on nearly half of its IT reform objectives, including data center closures and a “cloud first” administration and budgetary approach, and more spending and efficiency changes are coming, according to a new update on the 18-month plan from federal CIO Steven VanRoekel.

But the new schedule also showed work toward secure infrastructure as a service solutions as well as talks with Congress about IT spending and innovation that are behind schedule.

In an archived conference call on the schedule update posted online Thursday, VanRoekel centered on efforts on the closure or consolidation of 800 data centers by 2015, nearly half of which is supposed to be taken care of by the end of this year. Data centers still gobble up the largest single portion of federal IT spending, with VanRoekel estimating 30 cents on every IT budgetary dollar going toward data centers and related infrastructure. That has led to the development of a new cost model for government data centers and a wider net cast for the types of centers aimed at for closure or consolidation, VanRoekel said on the call.

“We think we can do better,” he said, later adding, “We’re increasing the scope of the kind of data centers we’re looking at across the federal government to really capture all square footage.”

New goals and a review on this are expected to be published by the end of the year.

Not elaborated on in the call were some of the other timeline benchmarks of the 18-month federal plan, which were published online Friday. Twelve of those plans, including the ongoing data center closures, were marked as “delivered,” and another five were listed as “on track.” The remaining items were tagged as “behind schedule,” and include stand up contract vehicles for secure IaaS solutions, and work with Congress on budgetary models and consolidation of commodity IT spending under agency CIOs. Further updates on all of these initiatives are expected later this year, VanRoekel said.

The plan was rolled out at the end of 2010 by inaugural federal CIO Vivek Kundra, whom VanRoekel took over for in August 2011 after Kundra took a fellowship at Harvard.

To view the federal checklist on IT reform, visit here. For a status updates on data center closures, click here.

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