OMB tightens hold on data center policy

Superseding the 2010 memo on data center consolidation, a new draft guidance would elevate emphasis on cloud, shared services and savings.

Federal CIO Tony Scott released a major revision of data center consolidation policy.

Federal CIO Tony Scott is looking for feedback on new governmentwide data center consolidation policy.

Meant to supersede the Office of Management and Budget's 2010 Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative, the new Data Center Optimization Initiative went online March 2 for a 30-day comment period.

The policy would bring data center guidance in line with the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act, requiring agencies to develop annual data center consolidation plans and stressing a "cloud first" and shared services-heavy approach. The General Services Administration's Office of Government-wide Policy will be charged with standing up data center shared services management.

GSA will also work with OMB to define the word "significant," as it applies to data centers, within 60 days of the policy's final publication. Starting 180 days after the memo's official debut, agencies will be barred from spending on new data centers or significantly expanding old ones unless they can get Scott's office to agree to an exception.

The draft memo comes on the heels of a Government Accountability Office report that stressed the need for clearer goals in the consolidation push.

The memo dives into power savings, requiring data center optimization focused on energy metering and measuring power usage effectiveness -- all aimed at making the data centers government continues to run more efficient.

But the main thrust of the 2010 memo -- close down and combine centers -- will remain in effect.

The draft memo lays out a two-category system: If a center has independent cooling, an uninterruptible power supply with a backup generator and separate physical space for IT infrastructure, it's tiered; if not, it's non-tiered.

By the end of fiscal 2018, agencies will need to reduce physical data center costs by 25 percent overall, and close 25 percent of tiered and 60 percent of non-tiered data centers.

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