Federal Government’s Data Center Optimization

In March of 2016, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released the Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI). In an effort to cut taxpayer costs, the DCOI will require any US federal data center to implement a data center infrastructure management (DCIM) system by September 2018.

The following are excerpts from the DCOI release:

Energy Metering and Power Efficiency

Agencies shall install automated energy metering tools and shall use these to collect and report to OMB energy usage data in their data centers. The March 19, 2015, Executive Order 13693, “Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade,” requires agencies to install and monitor advanced energy meters in all data centers by September 30, 2018.

OMB will monitor the energy efficiency of data centers through a Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) metric. Energy metering tools shall enable the active tracking of PUE for the data center and shall be installed in all tiered Federal data centers by September 30, 2018.

Agency CIOs are required to ensure that existing tiered data centers achieve and maintain a PUE of less than 1.5 by September 30, 2018. Effective immediately, all new data centers must implement advanced energy metering and be designed and operated to maintain a PUE no greater than 1.4, and are encouraged to be designed and operated to achieve a PUE no greater than 1.2.

Pursuant to Executive Order 13693, for existing data centers in which a PUE target of less than 1.5 is not cost-effective, agencies shall evaluate consolidation or closure, such as through transition to cloud services or migration to inter-agency shared services data centers.

Automated Infrastructure Management

Agencies shall replace manual collections and reporting of systems, software, and hardware inventory housed within data centers with automated monitoring, inventory, and management tools (e.g., data center infrastructure management) by the end of fiscal year 2018. These tools shall provide the capability to, at a minimum, measure progress toward the server utilization and virtualization metrics defined in the Metric Target Values section of this memorandum.

Any data center initiation, significant expansion, or migration project that receives DM&E funds in fiscal year 2017 and beyond must immediately implement automated monitoring and management tools. However, agencies are strongly encouraged to implement automated monitoring and management tools throughout their data centers immediately.

Scott, Tony. “Optimization of Physical Data Centers.” Optimization of Physical Data Centers. Mar. 2016. Web. 29 Apr. 2016. <https://datacenters.cio.gov/optimization/>.

The DCOI describes any data center as a room with at least one service providing server. This classification excludes any room that only use routing equipment, switches, security devices, and other telecommunication devices.

Beside the obvious financial benefit to implementing DCIMs in their data centers, the OMB has also realized the benefit to having an efficient, consolidated system for their staff to work with. This will not only directly save costs by increasing data center power efficiencies, per Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE), but also increase the knowledge of the staff that work in these rooms.

The DCOI will use the proporation of total data center energy used to the power IT infrastructure (total data center energy used / total IT equipment energy used) as their PUE calculation. The idea behind this calculation is to attempt to eliminate wasted power through inefficient devices, such as servers, uninterruptible power supplies, transfer switches, etc.

Total physical spending by federal data centers in 2014 was over 5 billion dollars ($5,396,890,000). Beginning in 2016, they are looking to reduce those costs by 5% ($269,840,000). They look to continue their savings by roughly 9% ($461,430,000) in 2017 and 12% ($629,860,000) by 2018. Collectively, they are hoping to save over a billion dollars ($1,361,130,000) of total data center spending by 2018.

This massive plan is at a minimum, the federal government’s acknowledgement that DCIM works and should be implemented in every data center. They are taking the necessary steps to save the tax payers and themselves a lot of money.

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