NASA said that it is rethinking its data center strategy, and has abruptly delayed plans to build a $1.5 billion enterprise data center.

The announcement, which was posted on the space agency’s Web site, came as the White House contemplates leadership changes and new policies for NASA.

In the announcement, NASA stated that it has decided to postpone the issuing of a request for proposal (RFP) for the new enterprise data center. In addition to expected leadership changes, the agency said new requirements regarding cloud computing, green IT, virtualization and a federal directive to consolidate data centers, made it necessary for NASA to reevaluate its plans.

“NASA intends to create a data center consolidation plan to incorporate all data centers, systems and applications,” the agency stated. “This data center plan will include a data center architecture and full enterprise assessment, which will allow NASA to design an infrastructure strategy to address all business requirements while taking advantage of opportunities to reduce energy costs and utilize innovations like cloud computing.”

The NASA announcement comes not long after federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra issued a data center consolidation directive to federal agencies. Kundra instructed agencies to develop a data center consolidation plan by the end of August 2010 in order that the plans could be incorporated into 2012 fiscal budgets.

The number of data centers operated by U.S. government agencies and departments has more than doubled in the past 10 years, from about 432 in 1998 to more than 1,100 in 2009.




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