data center monitoring

Data center optimization: Not there yet

Although federal agencies have closed thousands of data centers to address the goals of the Data Center Optimization Initiative, they still have work to do, the Government Accountability Office says.

Federal agencies have shut down 6,250 centers since the Office of Management and Budget launched a push to close or combine them. That's about half of the 12,000 data centers reported to OMB.  Some 4,700 data centers across agencies aren't planned for closure, and another 1,200 planned to close, but remain open,  according to a recent GAO report covering DCOI implementation through fiscal 2018.

The agency noted the split, saying "while about half of the agencies had met, or had planned to meet, their OMB targets as of August 2018, the other half planned to miss one or both of them." As a result, savings have come up short, delivering about $0.38 billion less than OMB’s DCOI savings goal of $2.7 billion.

GAO also reported that the 24 agencies participating in the DCOI program reported limited progress against OMB’s five optimization targets for server utilization and automated monitoring, energy metering, power usage effectiveness, facility utilization and virtualization.

Regarding power usage effectiveness and virtualization metrics, eight agencies said they'd met the targets.  However, when it came to hitting the energy metering, facility utilization, and server utilization and automated monitoring metrics, no more than three agencies reported meeting each.

Overall, six agencies reported success in meeting OMB’s closure and  optimization targets through a combination of six practices that included increasing the use of cloud and shared services as well as virtualization.

The report said the top IT management at the Commerce Department, the General Services Administration and the Social Security Administration all underlined the importance of moving data center assets and systems to cloud services to optimize operations and reduce costs.

Commerce, SSA and the Environmental Protection Agency reported that increasing the use of virtualization allowed them to run more software on the same or a reduced number of physical servers. In addition, SSA reported it is virtualizing not only servers but also storage and network applications to reduce the hardware footprint in the data center as well as power, cooling and network bandwidth requirements.

The GAO made 36 recommendations to the 24 agencies in its report, primarily to meet the OMB's closure and savings targets.

This article was first posted to FCW, a sibling site to GCN.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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