mark gaydos

Federal Government Data Center Mandate Gets Ahead of the Public Sector

By 2018, all federal government data centers must achieve higher, specified levels of efficiency. One way to achieve this is to bring server utilization rates up to 65 percent, from the current 5 percent utilization rate.

Mark Gaydos is Chief Marketing Officer for Nlyte Software.

Recent federal government policy is targeting data centers that are consuming too much power, and seeking to block agencies from allocating money to new or expanding federal data centers, without approval from the Federal CIO himself. This new mandate, in development for several years, basically leaves no other option for federal agencies but to “go green.”

Here is a bit of background to help make sense of these new policies:

  • In 2010, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) launched the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative (FDCCI) to promote the use of Green IT by reducing the overall energy and real estate footprint of government data centers, reducing the cost of data center hardware, software and operations.
  • In December 2014, the President, by signing into law the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA), enacted and built upon the requirements of the FDCCI. FITARA requires agencies to submit annual reports to include: comprehensive data center inventories; multi-year strategies to consolidate and optimize data centers; performance metrics and a timeline for agency activities; and yearly calculations of investment and cost savings.

FITARA also requires the Administrator of the Office of E-Government and Information Technology, now the Office of the Federal Chief Information Officer (OFCIO), to provide public updates on cumulative cost-savings and optimization improvements, review agency data center inventories, and implement data center management strategies. This government framework helps achieve FITARA’s optimization requirements.

See also: White House Orders Federal Data Center Construction Freeze

What Does DCIM Have To Do With It?

By 2018, all federal government data centers must achieve higher, specified levels of efficiency. One way to achieve this is to bring server utilization rates up to 65 percent, from the current 5 percent utilization rate. Server utilization rates were at 5 percent to ensure capacity. With the elasticity of the cloud, flexible bandwidth-on-demand effectively squeezed more utilization out of the existing boxes. There’s an efficient means to overcome this challenge – and it’s called data center infrastructure management or DCIM.

DCIM is now required in all federal data centers and is the best solution to monitor energy and track inventory. DCIM offers:

  • Ease of asset tracking for users to follow assets throughout their lifecycle, from loading dock to decommission.
  • Accurate and real-time inventory audits, with floor plan views that allow data center operators easy consolidation and capacity planning.
  • Real-time energy monitoring by automatically extracting current energy usage and accurately displaying the overall trending information.
  • Facility and IT managers the ability to find and identify stranded, unused power, and space capacity for the most efficient usage, reducing power consumption by 15-25%.
  • Data center managers the ability to establish a power use baseline and record data over a period of time to validate to the government that successful measures have been implemented.

And DCIM can accomplish all this without new hardware, which brings with it the adverse effect of turning on and consuming more power.

Federal agencies selecting a DCIM should ensure that the vendor is well entrenched in federal data centers and understands well the unique federal requirements. Furthermore, that they offer a solution to meet the mandates of the recent Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI) from the U.S. Federal Office of Management and Budget objectives. This should include the ability to:

  • Establish goal and target date configuration within charts, so facility managers can understand where mandates and objectives are being achieved.
  • Multivariate analysis to establish a regression line for predictive “realization date” as to when the federal agency should ultimately be in compliance with the specific focus areas.
  • Add micro-permissions capabilities to grant qualified individuals specific and detailed dashboard access as necessary throughout any part of the data center complex or across their entire global portfolio.

In conclusion, a complete DCIM solution can help organizations optimize their data centers and consolidate their hardware footprint while being fully synched with the Federal DCOI objectives of efficiency.
Industry Perspectives is a content channel at Data Center Knowledge highlighting thought leadership in the data center arena. See our guidelines and submission process for information on participating. View previously published Industry Perspectives in our Knowledge Library.

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