Federal Data Center Optimization Initiative Progress, FY 2019

Published: January 30, 2020

Data Center

In mid-December, fourth quarter FY 2019 data center statistics were posted to the IT Dashboard finalizing FY 2019 fiscal year-end data center numbers and showing progress to date.

Since 2010 the federal government has made a concerted effort to consolidate and optimize data centers. in FY 2016, OMB launched the Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI). In June 2019, OMB updated the guidance for the initiative to align it more closely with FITARA objectives and refocus efforts on projects that drive the most cost savings and return on investment (ROI). The FITARA Enhancement Act of 2017 extended the deadlines for achieving DCOI goals to October 1, 2020.

The IT Dashboard does not give definitions or explanations to the numbers presented. The information is left to user interpretation. IT Dashboard data shows that the “total” number of data centers has decreased.  This is likely due to the change in the definition of a data center precipitated by the new DCOI guidance made final June 2019. Additionally, the new guidance established Key Mission Facilities (KMF) allowing agencies more latitude in requesting exemption from consolidation requirements.

The chart below is described as data center closures for all facilities.  The dashboard notes that definitions changed and KMFs were added in Q4 FY 2018. We are also left to assume that “closed” must mean the cumulative number of data centers that have been closed over time and that the reason the number has gone down from FY 2018 to FY 2019 is due to the change in the definition of a data center.

The following chart shows the closures for valid tiered facilities.  According to the new DCOI guidance, a valid tiered facility is a “purpose-built physically separate and dedicated space.”  Again, it appears that “closed” and the “closure goal” are cumulative numbers, not the number of data centers closed in each individual year.

The chart below shows the number of regular data center compared to the number of KMFs for the agencies with the most data centers. 

The chart below shows the number of current closures compared to the closure goal for the top federal departments. Treasury is not shown on this chart because it shows 23 closures with a closure goal of 1,853, which does not fit the scale of the chart.

The chart below shows data center counts by tier.

The following chart shows data center counts for tiered KMFs by their facility type.

Agencies reported total costs savings of $193M for data center optimization efforts in FY 2019.  This is short of their goal of $242M in cost savings for the time period. The cost saving goal for FY 2020 is $264M.

According to the data and the chart below, agencies are increasing their number of cloud instances, but the percentage of virtual hosts to servers has been volatile over the last three years.

According to the data, the number of facilities with energy metering capability is slowly on the rise, along with the percentage of facilities with metering capability. The total number of facilities declined in FY 2019.

Although the DCOI effort has lost some momentum, federal contractors should continue to see opportunities to assist agencies with data center consolidation and optimization efforts. Opportunities exist in the areas of application rationalization, infrastructure modernization, cloud migration, and shared service migration.