New IDC Government Insights Report Defines Government Datacenter of the Future

FRAMINGHAM, MA, October 17, 2012 – IDC Government Insights today unveiled a new report, “Technology Selection: The Government Datacenter of the Future,” (Document #GI237095) that explores how government datacenters are undergoing a once-in-a-generation shift, triggered by the rapid emergence of several key IT disrupters, ranging from growth of mobile devices to the rise of quality cloud services. In addition, a separate set of catalysts have come from government organizations such as the Federal CIO Council, which has set specific targets for system consolidation and movement toward cloud services. This report also investigates how datacenter buildings are migrating toward locations where real estate prices and the costs of electricity are lower, with systems designed to maximize passive cooling and heating and equipped with new types of modular, hot-swappable hardware.

The end result of all of these changes is that government datacenters are entering a period of radical change. To help government CIOs and IT managers navigate this change, the new report focuses on both the near- and long-term future of government datacenters. To accurately address this topic, the report also provides an examination of the current state of government IT infrastructure, including an evaluation of how multiple current trends influence the long-term design and functionality of future government IT facilities. The report concludes with a call to action to help government CIOs and IT managers.

“Changes are very iterative and they can take years to unfold, depending on the budgets and preferences of individual agencies. But the long term trends are highly apparent, and IT managers are advised to familiarize themselves with how datacenters are evolving, in order to take advantage of important new resources,” said Shawn McCarthy, Research Director, IDC Government Insights.

Datacenter Trends – The Next Evolution

Government datacenters, and the agencies they serve, face a series of important IT decisions over the next two years. Today, agencies are reacting to their own internal budget limits and information technology needs, prompting many to look for cloud-based solutions that will allow them to stop providing some types of IT services (email, storage and backup, Web site hosting) and get these from cloud providers instead.

Some states, such as Utah, Michigan, and the states involved in the Western States Contracting Alliance, are offering hosted solutions to which counties and cities can subscribe. This allows the state governments to serve as cloud providers, and it allows local governments the chance to drop certain IT services from their locally hosted (and maintained) solutions.

All of these influences together are prompting government agencies to rethink how they are structuring their data services and the associated facilities they use to host their IT solutions. As a result, government agencies are migrating from a single-stack, siloed approach to more integrated shared services. In fact, in the United States, IDC expects spending on public cloud services to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 18.5% through 2016, which is about four times faster than direct spending on IT infrastructure hardware and software.

Additional key report findings include:

Fewer dedicated datacenters, but the remaining facilities will be quite large, serving multiple customers.

The buildings themselves will be located in regions where real estate prices and the costs of electricity are lower, and they will be designed to maximize passive cooling and heating.

Hardware will be increasingly rack based, hot-swappable, progressively powerful and standardized, and designed to support heavily virtualized software.

Software solutions will consolidate around specific business functions, with organizations making those functions available as hundreds of discreet services that can be tapped into, via the cloud, by multiple applications and multiple agencies.

Energy efficiency will be boosted greatly while tapping into alternative energy resources such as wind, solar, nuclear, wave energy, and geothermal solutions.

"The end result of this evolution will be fewer dedicated government datacenters," continued McCarthy. "But the remaining facilities will be quite large, serving multiple customers."

For additional information about this study, or to arrange a one-on-one briefing with Shawn McCarthy, please contact Sarah Murray at 781-378-2674 or Reports are available to qualified members of the media. For information on purchasing reports, contact; reporters should email

About IDC Government Insights

IDC Government Insights assists government policy, program, and IT leaders, as well as the suppliers who serve them, in making more effective technology decisions by providing accurate, timely, and insightful fact-based research and consulting services. Staffed by senior analysts with decades of government and IT industry experience, our global research analyzes and advises on business and technology issues facing the Federal/Central and local/provincial Governments. International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology market. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world’s leading technology, media, research, and events company. For more information, please visit, email, or call 703-485-8300. Visit the IDC Government Insights Community at