U.S. Government looks to consolidate data centers, move to cloud

The U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has announced the Data Center Optimization Initiative, the latest step in its efforts to move the U.S. Government's IT and data center infrastructure to more "green" practices. The initiative seeks to limit the construction of new data centers, consolidate existing ones, and move the federal government in the direction of cloud services.

The U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has announced the Data Center Optimization Initiative, the latest step in its efforts to move the U.S. Government's IT and data center infrastructure to more "green" practices. The initiative seeks to limit the construction of new data centers, consolidate existing ones, and move the federal government in the direction of cloud services.

The Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI) follows on from the OMB's earlier Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative (FDCCI) and seeks to implement the data center provisions of the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA). The overall goals include lowering cost, increasing efficiency, and improving security, with the use of cloud-based services a key mechanism.

According to a blog by U.S. Chief Information Officer Tony Scott, the DCOI will focus on three activities:

  • Optimization through focus on five targets. These include the installation of energy metering to track power consumption; a power usage effectiveness (PUE) target to improve energy efficiency; creation and use of virtualization and server utilization metrics; and a facility utilization metric to drive more efficient use of data center space.
  • Closing data centers where possible. Over the next three years agencies will be required to close at least 25% of their tiered (i.e., large) data centers and 60% of their non-tiered data centers. Scott writes he expects to see the closure of approximately 52% of the overall Federal data center inventory and a reduction of approximately 31% in data center real estate footprint.
  • Cost savings of at least 25% by the end of fiscal year 2018, which equates to $2.7 billion in cost savings and avoidances over the three year initiative.

The DCOI also calls for strengthened and direct CIO authority over data center-related budgeting and management decisions, increased use of the cloud and inter-agency shared services, and replacement of manual data collection with automated monitoring tools.

Part of achieving these goals is reining data center proliferation. Starting 180 days from August 1, federal agencies cannot budget money to either build new data centers or significantly expand existing ones without approval from the OMB OFCIO.

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