Cramming for Federal Consolidation: How to Approach the Approaching Deadline

This audio was created using Microsoft Azure Speech Services

In just a few weeks, college students will be turning in their last papers for the semester and taking final tests before heading out for a long holiday. At the same time, agencies are cramming for a deadline of their own ­­­— the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative (FDCCI).

And while meeting FDCCI targets will probably include a lot of studying — defining your data center, reviewing space, assessing future needs — the pressure to deliver and comply goes well beyond making the grade during the glory days on campus.

Some mission critical data centers support our nation’s most critical missions. In every case, every federal agency plays a key role in keeping our country going, which means your data center has to remain in operation — even during consolidation.

On top of federal mandates, you also must work within federal budgets. This seems like a near impossible task, but there is good news — you don’t have to do it alone. We are all in it together and we have a model that will work within your agency’s requirements.

Approaching Consolidation
We approach the data center with the entire lifecycle in mind, which means we take a holistic look at (and can help with) consolidation from end-to-end or at any stage in the process — from designing, building and commissioning to optimizing and maintaining.

If you are upgrading one or two data centers into a selected existing one, the pod approach is often the right fit. It requires lower capital investment and can match IT refreshes. The receiving data center remains live in parallel.

Think of the pod approach like remodeling the basement. You already have the structure, but need to install some things (like sheet rock, drop ceiling, carpeting, etc.) to complete the room. The rest of the house is unaffected. Similarly, the pod is installed and acts as a standalone, with its own dedicated UPS, cooling and hot aisle containment.

If you have multiple data centers to consolidate, and minimal capital you’ll want to consider an Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC). (These were authorized by the Energy Policy Act of 1992, way before FDCCI but have been used ever since it was enacted.)

Estimates say that there has already been around a billion dollars in savings industry wide. You can really dig into ESPCs in Whitepaper 176, but in simple terms, we would perform an audit on your facility. Based on those results, we would make small changes like, for example, replacing UPS or switch gear, or even lightbulbs to make a difference in energy performance.

My colleague explained ESPCs in a previous post, “The ESPC is established between an agency and a specially designated Energy Service Company (ESCO). After consulting with the agency and drafting a detailed energy-savings plan, the ESCO secures the necessary funding and executes the project. The ESCO guarantees that enough energy will be saved over the term of the contact – which can be up to 25 years – to pay for the project. Any additional savings become a bonus for the agency.”

In the end, consolidation will result in more optimized and efficient data, but it won’t be without effort. Going back to those college exams I mentioned earlier, you couldn’t have passed them with the knowledge you obtained from the experts — those whose books you read or research you studied. The same is true for federal data center consolidation; consulting specialists like us will ensure a successful transition in your agency. Take a look at all our Federal contract offerings here.

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