Study: Five-Year Outlook Gloomy for Federal Data Centers

  June 16, 2016

By Dave Lubach

A recent study revealed a gloomy outlook for the future of federal data centers and their ability to handle the demand over the next five years.

The report, “Flash Forward — The Future of the Federal Data Center,” reveals that just 11 percent of federal information technology (IT) managers say their data centers are “fully equipped” to meet their agency’s current mission demands. The five-year outlook is even worse, with less than 5 percent reporting that their data centers have the security, speed, and capacity necessary to meet data center demands of 2021.

MeriTalk, a public-private partnership focused on improving the outcomes of government IT, led the study. The report asked 150 federal IT and data center professionals to predict and examine the future of federal data centers across five pillars — power, consumption, capacity, physical footprint, speed, and security. Looking ahead five years to 2021, the IT managers believe they need to make significant data center improvements to meet agency missions.

The improvements should also bring big savings. More than half of the respondents — 60 percent — say their agency would save at least 20 percent of their IT budget if they successfully address their issues and produce an estimated $10 billion in annual savings.

Security ranks as the top area of concern for managers — 97 percent report their agency needs to improve security by 2021. Managers say they need to invest in further security measures (44 percent), establish or enhance employee security policies and best practices (43 percent), and hire additional cyber security professionals (43 percent).

Eighty-eight percent of respondents say they’ll need to reduce power consumption by 2021 and 82 percent say they need to shrink their data center footprint. In addition, the managers suggest nearly doubling the number of systems in the cloud over the next five years from 28 percent to 48 percent.

Federal IT managers also feel that few agencies are prepared to move applications to the cloud and improve data center management, as only 47 percent have an established leadership team and only 42 percent have a formal vision for the future. Additional barriers holding agencies back include budget (50 percent), legacy systems (29 percent), bandwidth or capacity (29 percent), and security policies (29 percent).

The results from the report are based on an online survey of 150 federal IT managers familiar with the current and future state of their agency’s data center in January and February of 2016. To download the full report visit

For more on information on data centers visit

This quick read was submitted by Dave Lubach, associate editor for Facility Maintenance Decisions. Reach him at


Read next on FacilitiesNet