To increase efficiency and make cost reductions, government seeks to close data centers  Computer centers are some of the biggest energy consumers in the world. Many businesses have worked over the past few years to reduce their computer centers' energy consumption and now the federal government is endeavoring to do the same, according to a published report.

The New York Times reports that the federal government plans to shut more than 40 percent of its computer centers over the next four years. The reasons for the move are twofold: First, it hopes to rein in its soaring technology budget, and secondly it hopes to modernize the way its computers manage data and provide services to U.S. residents.

Though analysts contend that computer centers are largely self-sufficient and do not require many workers to operate, the sheer magnitude of the closings will likely result in thousands of people losing their jobs, according to industry analysts.

The federal government spends $80 billion per year on information technology, making it the biggest purchaser of such systems in the world, according to The Times. The U.S. government currently owns about 2,000 data centers and with the announced closings, about 800 of them will shutter their doors.

That will help the government achieve cost reductions it desperately needs as contentious budget talks in Washington have ground to a halt over the past few weeks, with Republicans and Democrats squaring off. By closing such a large percentage of its data centers, the government is endeavoring to increase its efficiency and free up billions of dollars as well as prime real estate that can be sold for profit.

The government is taking its lead from the private sector, which has been at the forefront of such data center closings. Facebook, for example, has some of the most advanced data centers of any company in the world and its streamlining of their operations has served as a model for other businesses.

In a post, Facebook asserted that a small team of its engineers have spent more than two years working to scale the company computer systems in the most efficient and economical way possible.

The federal government hopes that by shifting its strategy toward cloud computing and improved efficiency, it can save over $5 billion per year in reduced software costs. What's more, the lower energy use will translate into cheaper electricity bills and fewer greenhouse gas emissions, which are all goals of the Obama Administration. 
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