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Kennedy Data Center Consolidation—A Smart Move

By Charles Kilgore, Director of the Kennedy Data Center Consolidation Project

“What have YOU moved for the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) lately?” That is the clarion call issued by the Kennedy Data Center Consolidation (KDCC) Project team to the KSC Information Technology systems owners. The KDCC project is responsive to and aligned with:

  • The U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Agency Data Center Consolidation Initiative of February 2010 establishing data center consolidation as a Federal Government-wide priority.
  • The Presidential Memorandum of June 2010 mandating Federal Government data center consolidation and reduction in numbers.
  • The NASA CIO memo of August 2010 articulated an Agency-wide initiative to “reduce the overall cost of data center services by leveraging newer and more efficient technologies, reducing power consumption and consolidating locations to increase space usage densities, and decreasing the real estate footprint of Federal data centers” with the support of Mission Directorate Associate Administrators and Center Directors.

Throughout most of KSC’s 50+ years of serving as the world’s premier spacelaunch facility, the supporting infrastructure, including IT, has been installed and operated in a geographically dispersed model, commensurate with the Center’s more than 200-square-mile campus. The ensuing IT sprawl resulted in today’s environment, which spans five data centers and more than 300 smaller server rooms and closets. Those areas occupy over 179,000 square feet of facility space, and they host and house approximately 2,400 physical assets to be individually assessed and scheduled for consolidation.

In addition to becoming compliant with the Federal data center consolidation mandates, the incremental progress and final results will provide tangible financial benefits to NASA and KSC in the following representative areas:

  • A reduction in costs for the procurement, operations, and maintenance of duplicative infrastructure (UPS; generators; and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems) that are required by IT systems at numerous locations.
  • A decrease in server life-cycle costs as systems are consolidated and virtualized into fewer servers.
  • A scaling down of power consumption as more servers are virtualized and excessed, resulting in lower energy costs.

Consolidation candidates are individually assessed and assigned into one of three categories:

  1. Consolidate—These assets have no technical obstacle(s) that would preclude their relocation or virtualization into a consolidated environment. KSC has implemented a three-phase plan for these assets based on the following dates:
    • Short-term consolidation—To be consolidated prior to end of year (EOY) 2012. These systems are ready now and have no constraints other than recipient data center scheduling and preparation.
    • Mid-term consolidation—To be consolidated prior to EOY 2014. These systems are in the planning stages and have constraints projected to be resolved within their allocated timeframe.
    • Long-term consolidation—To be consolidated prior to EOY 2015. These systems present significant technical issues and/or cultural resistance to consolidation and have been deferred while the issues are resolved.
  2. Excess—These assets are no longer functionally required, are obsolete, or provide redundant capability. Once determined to be in this category, they are powered down and excessed per NASA procedures.
  3. Out-of-Scope—The assets meeting this definition are exempt from consolidation and are typically in situ and provide specialized support requiring their placement to remain static. As technologies and capabilities continue to evolve, these assets will be reassessed, as appropriate.
The KDCC project is measuring progress via several metrics that include:
  • The number of servers relocated/consolidated, virtualized, or excessed.
  • The total power savings (kilowatthour [kWh]) realized from server consolidation and excess.
  • The amount of facility space (square footage) returned to the Center Operations Directorate for reassignment or closure.

The KDCC project team is committed to working with system owners to ensure a successful consolidation of IT infrastructure and services at KSC. The team utilizes tools and methods that minimize risk to systems and services during transition while providing outstanding postconsolidation service and support.

The KDCC project is endorsed by KSC Director Bob Cabana and KSC Chief Information Officer Mike Bolger as a key strategic initiative in the Center’s transformation into the launch complex of the future. They are both vocal advocates and have successfully enlisted the support and cooperation of the entire Center’s senior leadership team. The cumulative effect of the benefits mentioned previously have a common result: save NASA and KSC funds that can be applied to our core mission—space flight programs.