Federal Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI) Fundamentals: Where to Start

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March came in like a lion for government data centers, with the new Federal Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI) overriding FDCCI and taking the rules to a whole new level. Before we look ahead at how to meet the new mandates, let’s review the results of FDCCI.

According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office:

  • 1,690 government data centers were closed.
  • There are currently 11,700 government data centers in operation.
  • Approximately 2,000 more will be consolidated.
  • 19 of 24 participating agencies saved $1.1 billion in cost savings and cost avoidance from 2011-2013.
  • 21 agencies had collectively reported planning an additional $2.1 billion in cost savings and avoidances by the end of fiscal year 2015.

Of course, while all this was happening, additional requirements were enacted. In December 2014, the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) was signed into law requiring agencies submit annual reports with comprehensive data center inventories, multi-year strategies optimization, performance metrics, timeline and yearly calculations of investment and cost savings.

The Next Level

Essentially, DCOI incorporates all of the above. For one, “agencies may not budget any funds or resources toward initiating a new data center or significantly expanding an existing data center without approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).” The other three main components of the new memorandum, whose deadline is September 30, 2018 (FY18), are summed up as follows:

  • A data center is now defined by the presence of a server. (Agencies were asked to review their inventories by the end of February 2016 and come up with the correct classification.)
  • Advanced energy metering must be installed and energy usage reported to OMB. Any new data centers must operate at PUE of 1.4 or less. Existing data centers that cannot operate at 1.5 or below must be closed by FY18.
  • Manual collection and reporting of systems, software and hardware inventory is no longer acceptable. Data center infrastructure management (DCIM) tools must be implemented for automated monitoring and operations by the end of FY18.

So the first question you’ll need to ask: Do we have a data center? If the answer is yes, the next question would be: given the data center we have, is the assigned efficiency goal possible?

From there, while the challenges along the way will certainly vary by agency, the first order of business is the same for all. You must understand current instrumentation. What is already being measured in your data center and what is not?

In this step, you’ll notice how the edicts in DCOI are closely integrated. An asset inventory will help reveal where your losses are and determine which pieces of your data center are driving PUE higher than it should be. And, in order to properly perform the assessment, you need DCIM. The tool will provide the most accurate evaluation and result in the most comprehensive calculation.

Engaging Experts

When starting out and procuring the right solutions, you are bound to have more questions as you hurry to meet the 2018 deadline. For those data centers where improvement is necessary (and possible), we will help you through the entire  lifecycle and be able to answer the overarching question of: “What does DCOI mean for my agency?”

It’s important to note that we have experts around the world. So whether you are stateside (CONUS) or overseas (OCONUS), we not only understand the specific needs of the government space, but recognize the unique requirements of each agency and can help you more easily manage DCOI.

Read more about PUE and compliance:

You can also ask me a question in the comments below.

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