Federal Manager's Daily Report

OMB in memo M-19-19 has updated and extended its guidance on consolidating data centers, including targets and metrics for agencies as well as requirements for reporting on progress.

“After eight years of work in consolidating and closing federal data centers, OMB has seen diminishing returns from agency data center closures. The government has picked off much of the “low-hanging” fruit of easily-consolidated infrastructure. OMB now will focus on targeted improvements in key areas where agencies can make meaningful improvements and achieve further cost savings through optimization and closures, as well as driving further maturity in IT modernization,” it says.

“Rather than focusing on infrastructure alone, agencies must consider what applications are running in their data centers to facilitate further consolidation and optimization. This will frequently require updating legacy applications to take advantage of modem technologies such as APis, microservices, and cloud, as· well as replacing bespoke systems with commercial offerings when cost-effective,” it says.

Among its provisions are that: except for certain facilities meeting a definition of “critical,” agencies may not budget any funds or resources toward initiating a new agency-owned data center or significantly expanding an existing agency-owned data center without approval from OMB; agencies are to evaluate options for the consolidation and closure of existing data centers, where practical, in alignment with the recently issued Cloud Smart strategy; while GSA will continue to act as the data center shared services managing partner, OMB will no longer expect GSA to establish and maintain a data center shared services marketplace.

Regarding metrics, OMB said that it will no longer calculate in terms of averages across an agency’s entire inventory of applicable data centers, which it said produced some misleading results, and will instead focus on measures where agencies can demonstrate continuous improvement long-term. The memo includes updated metrics on virtualization, energy metering, energy efficiency, server utilization, facility utilization, and availability.

In terms of reporting, it says that agencies must: continue to maintain complete inventories of all data center facilities, closure/consolidation plans, and properties of each facility; annually evaluate the costs of operating and maintaining current facilities, and develop year-by-year targets for cost savings and cost avoidance; and report quarterly progress toward meeting their closures and metric target values.