data center monitoring

OMB looks to refresh data center policy

Federal  data center policy will be getting a refresh, according to updated guidance posted by Federal CIO Suzette Kent.

The updated policy recognizes that, by and large, the data center optimization initiative has been successful in going after the "low-hanging fruit," but the time has come for some budget controls to push agencies to look to the cloud, shared services and third-party co-location for application and data hosting.

The proposed revision includes a freeze on the development of new data centers and the expansion of existing data centers, except where approval from the Office of Management and Budget is obtained. To get that approval, agencies will have to submit written justification for the new or expanded data centers, and explain why managed services or some other cloud-based solution does not meet the use case.

OMB also wants agencies to focus primarily on consolidation and closure of data centers and then address optimization, which includes virtualization and energy efficiency, which can yield long-term savings.

OMB's draft policy also updates agency metrics. Some have been removed -- facility utilization and energy efficiency -- in favor of new metrics, such as virtualization, advanced energy metering, server utilization and availability.

It also strongly encourages agencies to replace manual reporting with automated monitoring, inventory, and management tools so they can match updated metrics. New contracts for data center services must  include automated infrastructure management, the policy states, "to the extent permissible under the Federal Acquisition Regulation." The new policy also focuses on a definition of data centers as large hosting facilities. "Agencies have seen little real savings from the consolidation of non-tiered facilities, small server closets, telecom closets, individual print and file servers and single computers acting as servers," the document notes. "Optimizing and consolidating these spaces not designed to be data centers generally incurs large costs for agencies, with little or no benefit from efficiencies gained."

Comments on the new policy are due by Dec. 26, per a notice in the Federal Register.

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


  • business meeting (Monkey Business Images/

    Civic tech volunteers help states with legacy systems

    As COVID-19 exposed vulnerabilities in state and local government IT systems, the newly formed U.S. Digital Response stepped in to help. Its successes offer insight into existing barriers and the future of the civic tech movement.

  • data analytics (

    More visible data helps drive DOD decision-making

    CDOs in the Defense Department are opening up their data to take advantage of artificial intelligence and machine learning tools that help surface insights and improve decision-making.

Stay Connected