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Is the Pope on LinkedIn?
Have you ever tried to Link somebody out? Yes, Steve O’Keeffe would like to remove you from his professional network. Well, it ain’t that easy. In fact, as near as I can tell, it’s impossible. And, how about logging off LinkedIn - getting rid of your profile? Ya, you can forget about it. I’m afraid LinkedIn is like a tattoo - InkedIn if you will (it’s for the rest of your life). And, sadly, social media is necromancy - even if you croak, you’ll live on on LinkedIn.
Turning the dial on the radio, I heard that Benedict XVI recently stated that Catholicism is forever. Once you’re baptized, that’s it. You can’t log out. Even if you become a Muslim or a Jew or, heaven forbid, a Protestant, you’re still a Catholic when you get to the pearly gates.
Guess in social media and religion, it’s all about making it sticky and defending market share. And, yes, I must confess, I did search for the Pope on LinkedIn. There’s the man with the red shoes. Figure I’ll send him a LinkedIn request. If ya can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Hell, maybe I should go ahead and friend the Almighty - and cut out the middle man?
Virtualization Tastes Good
Looking for savings in Federal IT. Cooking up Cloud. Dicing up your Data Centers. Not to make light of these strategic plays, but they’re not exactly putting food on the table today. So, how can Uncle Sam ring the dinner bell on RoI? A new study, “The Virtualization Vacuum,” points to $30 billion in savings by 2015. And, “what’s the secret sauce,” I hear you ask - plain old virtualization.
What’s great about virtualization is it ain’t new. Uncle Sam’s IT chefs are mostly familiar with the recipe - and sometimes the best meals are the easiest to prepare. Eighty-two percent of Fed and 77 percent of state-and-local IT pros’ agencies have already cooked up some server virtualization. And, those dishes have trimmed 19 percent from agencies' IT budget waistlines - that’s $15 billion in savings to date across government. By 2015, IT pros project virtualized workloads will jump from 37 to 63 percent - which would boost government-wide savings to $23.6 billion.
But, while the majority of agencies have chomped down on server virtualization, fewer have exhibited a palate for the desktop dish. Less than 10 percent of IT pros plan to virtualize all apps for all users. That said, if desktop virtualization cuts just half the budget calories as server virtualization, agencies could save 9.5 percent of their IT stash - or $7.5 billion.
So, why the weight - I mean wait? Yes, it’s our old friend funding. Only 48 percent of Feds and 39 percent of state-and-local IT pros have the funding to virtualize servers. But it’s not just the circular speculate-to-accumulate, chicken-egg catch 22. Even funding is overshadowed by legacy app migration issues. Govies peg that as the biggest obstacle – for both server and desktop virtualization. Surprisingly for us IT nerds, govies flag lack of management support as another significant barrier. Thirty-seven percent of IT pros say their management doesn’t support virtualization - and, less than half report their agency has a formal policy or common framework for server virtualization. Perhaps we need to do a better job selling the benefits? Hope that the Virtualization Vacuum study helps.
The net here is that tried and true virtualization has and continues to deliver real savings. Don’t forget desktop opportunities. We need to get it done cheaper - and/or sell the concept up the food chain in agencies to break free needed funding. But, don’t expect virtualization to be a quick fix. Fifty-seven percent of government IT pros report that it’ll take a year or more to realize server virtualization RoI. But in today’s government IT market - characterized by glacial change - satisfaction or your money back in one year seems a pretty good warrantee. Govies who haven't should sign up to take the virtualization taste test. Those chewing on the first course should go back for seconds.
Powder Room Parlay?
Webster defines mobility as capable of moving or being moved. A new study, “IT in the Toilet” released last week by 11mark, a new sister organization of MeriTalk, provides a new “voice” for the IT mobility story.
Now, for anybody that’s used a public restroom in the past year, there’s no epiphany here - pardon the Martin Luther reference. According to the study, three out of four Americans use their phone in the potty. Aren’t we all waiting for the Verizon “Can You Hear Me Now?” ad?
Okay, so no shocker that mobile is enabling powder room parlays, but the study flushes up some interesting insights on America’s current calling plan.
Ladies First - Men @ Work
I was surprised to learn women are the least - or perhaps most - toilet trained. Seventy-six percent of gals versus 75 percent of fellas ‘fess up to potty talk. Sixty-three percent of ladies have answered calls - and 41 percent have initiated calls from the pew. Sixty-seven percent have read a text and 38 percent have surfed the internet. Oh, and men work more from the khazi - 20 percent of fellas have taken a work call “pants free,” compared to 13 percent of women.
Shocker - Generation Y has its head in the toilet - 91 percent connect from the can. But, age is no defense. Eighty percent of Gen X, 65 percent of Boomers, and 47 percent of the Silent Generation engage in porcelain prattle. Guess this opens new doors for AARP marketing.
And, as the marketers will tell you, not all phones are alike. Androiders log the heaviest use - 87 percent droid a-la-commode. Next in line, the BlackBerry thumb at 84 percent. Bringing up the rear, the road Apples. Fully 10 percent fewer iPhoners “tin can” from the can. Butt, I mean but, true to the RIM’s power-user reputation, the Berry wipes the floor with other devices on responsiveness. Seventy-five percent of crackers have answered a call while answering the call of nature - versus 67 and 60 percent of Droid and iPhone users, respectively.
The 11mark study’s really caught America’s attention. Five hundred online/print articles and approximately 250 broadcast placements since January 30. Harry Potter and Kelly Ripa bantered about IT in the Toilet on Live! With Kelly. NPR featured a humorous segment about the study. And, it’s really keeping the social media occupied – thousands of shares on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. @mashable tweeted about the study to its nearly three million followers. The coverage has driven website traffic from all across the globe.
A couple of takeaways from the study. Number one - there’s pretty much no place on this green earth that’s not IT enabled. Number two - well, I just had to put in a number two, couldn’t resist. I leave you with these questions. Is any call really that important that you need to take it with your pants around your ankles? Do we need to do something about this, or will mobile video wipe out the problem?
Doesn’t this give a whole new meaning to the term dropped call? Oh, and before you ask, no, I didn’t write this in the bathroom.
FDCCI - But Who's Counting Anyway
In the “beginning” - OMB set the “before-the-flood” date at 1998 - there were 432 Federal data centers. Vivek’s “Big-Iron Census” in October 2009 said the rack-room headcount had jumped to 932. When OMB rolled out FDCCI in February 2010, it told us the population had jumped to more than 1,100. Interestingly, OMB also said Uncle Sam’s data centers gulped 6 billion KwH of electricity in 2006 - and warned that power draw could double by 2011 without a “fundamental” shift in behavior. A spark back on this later…
Seem like a lot of stats? Hold on to your slide rule - the plot thickens. Next, OMB announced a tighter data center definition in October 2010. Nothing less than 500 square feet should count as a data center - taking those wiring closets off the balance sheet. That should’ve thinned the herd right? Well, in fact, quite the opposite. In that same OMB memo of October 2010 which set the 500-square-foot qualifier, OMB stated that the number of data centers rose to 2,094. And, the most critical numbers - Kundra’s termination and savings targets. 373 data center closures by the end of 2012 and another 427 by 2015 - saving taxpayers $3 billion by 2015.
VanRoekel Ups the Ante
Vivek Kundra exits stage left and revised FDCCI metrics take center stage with new Fed CIO Steven VanRoekel. October 7, 2011, VanRoekel emancipated a bigger slice of the data center demographic - he reduced the minimum square footage to qualify as a data center from 500 to just 100 square feet. That’s just 10’ by 10’ for those scoring at home. The total official data center count increased - but not by much, which makes me raise an eyebrow - to 2,800. At the same time, OMB upped the ante on closure goals - shooting to unplug 472 by year end 2012, and 528 by 2015. That brings us to a nice round 1,000… And, the savings target jumped accordingly - from $3 billion to $5 billion.
Stop the Madness…
So, with all these numbers flying around, how are we actually doing on measuring? How many data centers have we closed and how much have we saved?
First, let’s consider the “third-rail” issue - here’s the electric shock. How did OMB come up with the 6 billion KhW electricity bill in 2006? The vast majority of Federal data center owners don’t know how much they pay for electricity. What happened to the idea of a fundamental shift? Is there a plan to meter data center power draw to get a sense for the power bill and PUE?
Now to real savings. OMB required agencies to report their data center closures every quarter. The first report in October of last year was mostly unintelligible, incomplete - DHS and DoD did not report - and the savings were just $14.6 million - or 0.183 percent of the Federal budget. It seemed like OMB was more interested in hiding the numbers than showcasing them. $14.6 million in savings pales next to the $5 billion goal.
And, let’s fast forward to today’s new map-based reports at www.cio.gov - these are as clear as mud to me. Can anybody show me how to make sense of this? Perhaps OMB and GSA should host a webinar to explain how to use the tools and highlight results so far? MeriTalk would be happy to work with you on this project at no charge to the government.
Might I be so bold as to make some broader suggestions to OMB and GSA. The Hill’s on to the data center consolidation numbers game. Why don’t we sit down with data center operators from the agencies - not the CIOs but the guys and gals with circuits under their finger nails - to come up with some practical steps to enhance data center efficiency? And, I know this is anathema in today’s political environment, but we’re going to need to invest to get a return here...
Now for some compelling and tangible data center numbers - we’ve got 30 some Federal data center execs, Hill staffers, and GAOers coming to the MeriTalk Data Center Exchange - DCX - breakfast, next Thursday, February 9. Janice Haith, data center lead for the Navy, launches the session on how the nautical nerds have thrown their data center anchors away. Come join us and help map some serious metrics for success. Oh, and speaking of recommendations from Federal data center operators, check on the Data Center Consolidation Cookbook - built by Feds for Feds, it's free to download.
Quick plug for the new MeriTalk Data Center Brainstorm Conference and DCX Optimize Data Center Awards. We’re taking a pragmatic approach to surface real-world best practices - showcasing agencies that have demonstrated measurable success. The focus here is on common-sense initiatives that are delivering success in eating the cost elephant one bite at a time. We’re not trying to call out the agencies that have shut the most data centers - after all, who’s really counting anyway?