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28625925_sThe United States government, like all of us, is trying to save a little cash and make its day-to-day operations a little more efficient.

In an effort to cut costs, Washington is consolidating its data centers, and though consolidation is a smart move, data centers – both federal and otherwise – invite specific risks when they are merged. How those risks are managed will ultimately determine the success of the mandate, the reports.

iHLS Israel Homeland Security

Federal data centers have been all over the news recently, mostly because of their involvement in collecting and processing clandestine information that only a select few government officials (and one Ed Snowden) get to be privy to.

But on a more banal note, the Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has recently joined the Obama administration in urging federal agencies to consolidate their data centers.

This committee just approved a bill that requires federal agencies to report on their consolidation efforts, sparked by an initial goal of engineering $3 billion in savings by 2015 to be realized by closing 40 percent of their existing data centers.

Data center consolidation is, point blank, a good idea. Whether you’re concerned about costs, energy usage or environmental impact, all sound reasoning recommends the practice. Fewer data centers mean lower real estate costs, lower energy bills and lower environmental impact.

But data center consolidation in the government also has hurdles to overcome.

One of the main barriers to data center consolidation is that it is logistically a complicated endeavor – and particularly so if multiple, disparate agencies need to comply.

But even after the messy business of merging, consolidated data centers may be exposed to elevated risks.