shutterstock id  628642592 By Gennady Danilkin

OMB wants agencies to focus on consolidation, closure of data centers

As part of a new policy proposal, the Office of Management and Budget is putting new hurdles in place for agencies that want to acquire new or expand current physical data center facilities.

OMB is proposing a freeze on spending for new and updated facilities, according to a draft policy document from Federal CIO Suzette Kent published for comment on Nov. 26. Agencies that want to get around the freeze will have to submit written justification for new or expanded data centers and explain why managed services or some other cloud-based solution does not meet the use case.

The policy refresh is being put in place in part because the FITARA Enhancement Act of 2017 extended the Obama-era Federal Data Center Optimization Initiative through the end of fiscal year 2020. But Kent and policymakers at OMB are going after bigger game than just getting rid of boxes here and there.

"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 policy states.

The updated policy recognizes that agencies have been successful in going after the "low-hanging fruit," the 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.

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 measures, 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 deliver the updated metrics. New contracts for data center services must include automated infrastructure management, "to the extent permissible under the Federal Acquisition Regulation," the policy states.

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

Reader comments

Tue, Nov 27, 2018 Sam USA

It is Never, Never, Never a good idea to put too many eggs in one basket.

Tue, Nov 27, 2018

Ever since "consolidation" of data center back east, we experience daily outages, extreme slowness in speed, systems locking up, and applications giving us the dreaded "not responding" message. In theory it is great, however, when you have lots of agencies going thru 1 location and a multitude going thru the same silo it is disaster in the making. Oh, and don't forget the company they chose was partly owned by the Russians, and was none and moving to this facility was stopped. But that didn't stop our agency or our department from moving forward. Now we get to move to a different data center located on the east coast once again.

Tue, Nov 27, 2018 mm

okay, now I'm confused. Do they want us to move to the cloud or do they want us to save money? Enquiring minds want to know.

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