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Legislation Would Require Agencies to Continue Data Center Efforts

Published: July 20, 2017

Data CenterPolicy and Legislation

Last week the House passed the FY 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which included an amendment to extend three provisions of FITARA, one of which would extend data center consolidation requirements until the end of FY 2020.

Data center consolidation requirements included in FITARA are slated to sunset October 1, 2018.  GAO’s Director of IT Issues, Dave Powner, has been an advocate for extending data center requirements and deadlines. As I mentioned in a March 2017 blog post, he believes agencies will need more time to meet data center optimization goals. If the Senate passes its version of the NDAA and the reconciled bill is signed by the president, agencies will have until the end of FY 2020 to meet data center consolidation and optimization targets.

Data center consolidation and optimization began in 2010 with the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative (FDCCI).  In August 2016, OMB launched the follow-on initiative, the Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI).  DCOI aims to close at least 25% of tiered data centers and at least 60% of non-tiered data centers. Agencies must also meet goals for PUE, virtualization, server utilization, automated monitoring, facility utilization, and cost savings of $2.7 billion.

A recent GAO study found that the 24 CFO agencies participating in data center optimization effort have made progress by closing 4,388 out of a total of 9,995 data centers as of August 2016, with plans to close an additional 1,209 by the end of FY 2019.  But just four agencies account for 84% of the completed closures: Agriculture, Defense, Interior, and Treasury.

The IT Dashboard shows the following progress toward other DCOI targets:

  • Server Utilization - Goal 65%, to date 1.3%
  • Energy Metering - Goal 100%, to date 28.7%
  • Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) – Goal 1.5, to date 1.5
  • Facility Utilization - Goal 80%, to date 43.2%
  • Virtualization - Goal 4, to date 2.2

Powner stated at a Meritalk Data Center event in March, “By 2018 when the data center portion of FITARA sunsets, we will only have about one third of the agencies meeting the goals.”

According to Powner, only two agencies have the automated monitoring tools to measure server utilization that are required by DCOI.  OMB guidance requires that all agencies have these tools in place by 2018, but they are also supposed to meet the server utilization goals at the same time. 

The Senate has yet to take up its version of the $700-billion NDAA passed by the Senate Armed Services Committee in June. Once the bill passes in the full Senate, the House and Senate bills will advance to the reconciliation process. 

Update:  Just before publication of this blog, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee by voice vote cleared the FITARA Enhancement Act of 2017, which would extend the sunset periods of the same three key FITARA requirements. This standalone legislation is meant to act as a backup plan if the NDAA amendment is taken out during the reconciliation process.