Labor’s data consolidation: First step (of many) complete

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Editor’s note: Changes have been made to reflect the new facility is in Maryland, and not in D.C. as originally stated. 

The Labor Department, working with Lockheed Martin, has consolidated its databases around Washington, D.C., into a single, custom-built database center — the first step in a multiyear plan to consolidate its data centers and eventually move them to the cloud.

Since November 2012, when the Labor Department first awarded the $59.4 million contract to consolidate its database to Lockheed Martin, the two sides have been collaborating on the move; Labor handling the logistics and Lockheed the technical side. The move is part of the broader Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative intended to lower data-keeping costs and increase energy efficiency.

“The Department of Labor has this issue — and many of the government agencies have this issue — where you have data centers that were put into facilities that were never designed to be data centers,” said Lynn Singleton, director of environmental services for Lockheed Martin, in an interview with FedScoop.

Fractured storage leads to slower network speeds and unexpected server downtime. Having numerous buildings improper for data storage also poses long-term risks

“You have redundant power that’s missing, you have heating and cooling that is not necessarily adequately sized,” Singleton said. “And the lack of redundancy means if there’s a power outage, what kind of failure do you have?”

So between November and May, Lockheed prepped the new facility in Montgomery County, Md. — new routers, switches, data pipes — and ensured they could handle the data influx. The company powered the system up and down three times to feel confident it would turn back on after the move. Labor “orchestrated all the internal folks,” Singleton said. “They set the tone.”

Over the Memorial Day weekend in May — low usage, three full days off for most people — the data was all transferred without a major hitch.

“They were back up and running on Sunday,” Singleton said.

It’s only the first step in a complete consolidation that will last up to, and perhaps longer than, the seven years stipulated in the contract.

“Moving to a designed, dedicated data center provides you with redundant power, redundant heating and cooling, back-up systems — a secure environment,” Singleton said. “It’s basically having a very specialized building that meets all requirements for any data center that you might want.”

And that specialized building will help the agency meet energy efficiency standards, according to Singleton.

“You can leverage power sources, you can leverage power type, cleanliness of the power and so on, to meet your greenhouse gas emission goals,” he said.

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Cloud, Department of Labor, Departments, Lockheed Martin, Tech, Virtualization
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