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Government shutting down hundreds of data centers

In an effort to save taxpayer money, the White House says it plans to close almost 400 redundant data centers this year and next.

The U.S. government is aiming to pull the plug on hundreds of unneeded data centers over the next few years in an attempt to save taxpayers some hard-earned cash.

In a blog published yesterday, the White House's Office of Management and Budget admitted that instead of consolidating data centers as many businesses have done in recent years, the government went in the opposite direction. Between 1998 and 2010, federal agencies actually quadrupled their number of data centers despite increases in the efficiency of data storage.

And, of course, taxpayers have been stuck paying the bills for those data centers and all the equipment and supplies they require. The energy costs can be especially high, as such data centers can soak up 200 times as much power as standard office spaces, according to the blog.

In a mea culpa over its spending spree, the White House said it plans to shut down a total of 373 redundant and unnecessary data centers by the end of 2012. The government has already closed 81 this year as part of its goal to power off 195 such centers throughout 2011. Looking down the road, Washington is aiming to shut down more than 800 data centers by 2015, a plan it believes would save taxpayers more than $3 billion.

"By shrinking our data center footprint we will save taxpayer dollars, cutting costs for infrastructure, real estate, and energy," the OMB's Deputy Director for Management Jeffrey Zients said in the blog. "At the same time, moving to a more nimble 21st century model will strengthen our security and the ability to deliver services for less."

Data centers due to be put out of commission are located across roughly 30 states and include centers run by a variety of federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Agriculture, and Department of the Treasury. Taxpayers who want to see which data centers are going out of business can view a Google map of them set up by the government.

The new plan is part of the White House's Campaign to Cut Waste, an effort geared at tracking down and slashing the amount of tax dollars "misspent" across all federal agencies.