Federal Data Center Consolidation: Agencies Await Guidance for Phase Two
Published: November 11, 2015
In the coming weeks, OMB is due to provide updated Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative (FDCCI) guidance to agencies, which is meant to describe the second phase of the initiative and refresh and refocus the data center optimization strategy.
FDCCI was launched in 2010 to lower the energy and real estate footprint of government data centers; reduce the cost of data center hardware, software, and operations; shift IT investments to more efficient computing platforms; and increase the overall IT security posture of the government. The original initiative was to conclude at the end of FY 2015.
Since the launch of FDCCI, agencies have made a number of accomplishments, but progress has also been mixed.
Between February 2010 and May 2015, agencies closed nearly 1,700 data centers, but in order to meet the goal of closing 40% of non-core data centers, over 2,000 data centers still need to be closed. Additionally, FDCCI resulted in $2 billion in cost savings from FY 2011 to FY 2014 according to GAO. However, consistent cost savings and ROI are still elusive, with agencies using different methods and metrics to track and calculate. GAO believes planned savings and cost avoidance may actually be higher than reported by agencies.
FITARA requires agencies to provide updates regarding phase one of FDCCI in their quarterly Integrated Data Collection (IDC) submissions. Inclusion of data center consolidation and optimization efforts as part of an overall IT infrastructure strategy and the PortfolioStat process make data center projects more strategic, but also more difficult to track as separate initiatives.
On the IT Dashboard, agencies have published data center optimization metrics against the 11 targets established by the FDCCI Task Force. The goal was to meet the targets by the end of FY 2015. Q1 FY 2015 data center metrics released on the dashboard revealed that as of that time none of the 20 agencies reporting metrics had achieved all of the targets. HUD and Education were ranked highest achieving four and five of the 11 metrics respectively.
Agencies still face data center consolidation challenges such as budget, culture, and technical issues which impede efforts at further consolidation and optimization. Contractors should expect a more thoughtful, deliberate and strategic approach to data center consolidation and optimization. In order to garner quick wins, many agencies closed or combined very small data centers, server rooms, and closets. Now agencies will be forced to focus on more complex decisions such as application rationalization, data management, storage, software-defined implementations, legacy system decisions, and automation. Agencies need contractors who can help them navigate these more complex decisions.