The History of the Government’s Data Center Transformation and What It Means For You

Stay Informed

If you work in the data communications industry, specifically with the federal government, you’re probably already familiar with the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative (FDCCI), and how it led to the Federal Information Technology Reform Act (FITARA).

But have you heard about the latest updates to the Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI)?

A Brief History of Federal Data Centers

As the number of data centers grew significantly over a 10-year period (1998-2009) from 432 to more than 1,000, the federal government studied whether any agency data centers could be consolidated to result in cost savings. The results of this study brought about the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative (FDCCI) in 2010.

The FDCCI was created to:  

  • Promote the use of Green IT by reducing the overall energy and real estate footprint of government data centers
  • Reduce the cost of data center hardware, software, and operations
  • Increase the overall IT security posture of the government
  • Shift IT investments to more efficient computing platforms and technologies

In short, it recommended that federal agencies optimize and consolidate their data centers to deliver better services to the public while increasing return-on-investment to taxpayers.

Over time, the FDCCI led to Congress creating the Federal Information Technology Reform Act (FITARA), which was signed into law in 2015. FITARA spelled out requirements, established guidelines, and set completion deadlines and expectations for the shift and made them law. It required the federal government to meet the FDCCI specs of its agencies’ data centers by October 1, 2018.

Roughly 24 federal agencies have spent considerable effort, time, and resources to ensure compliance, but the process is a long and arduous one — an October 2018 deadline would be nearly impossible to hit. The FITARA Enhancement Act of 2017 pushed that deadline to 2020, giving the agencies two extra years. But would even two years be enough time? How could they prioritize their work?

Enter the Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI)

Initially created in 2016 via memorandum M-16-19 by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the DCOI set the priorities for data center closures, consolidations, and improvements through the end of the 2018 fiscal year. Because the FITARA Enhancement Act extended the deadline, an update was needed with revised priorities, and this summer, it was issued.

On June 25 of this year, the M-19-19 Memorandum was distributed to a wide variety of CIOs in executive departments and myriad federal agencies. In the memo, Suzette Kent, the Federal Chief Information Officer for the United States at OMB, provided updated requirements and priorities, and extended the deadline until October 1, 2020 to meet the FITARA enhancements.

The updated memo directed agencies to focus on “general compute” data centers instead of non-tiered facilities and to continue to submit quarterly updates on progress and metrics. These priority and directional shifts can cause alarm with IT managers, regulators and contractors, and creates confusion within departments to ensure compliance to the law and adherence to established deadlines. What equipment and technology are needed? Which solutions are the most efficient? How do we optimize our infrastructure? What haven’t we thought of?

Fortunately, WESCO can help.

WESCO Capabilities and Contracts

WESCO can provide agencies with comprehensive evaluation regarding space, power, cooling, cabling, and connectivity to meet federal consolidation requirements. The complete assessment includes recommendations based on best practices to support your current operations and future requirements.

  • Technology review to assess your IT use and business goals
  • Review and assessment of facility infrastructure elements
  • Site survey to inspect the facility and confirm existing infrastructure systems
  • Analysis of documentation and site survey data to generate recommendations
  • Site modification recommendations and alternative solutions

In addition, WESCO has a GSA Schedule 70 GS-35F-573GA with more than 25,000 products from industry-leading manufacturers from product categories including copper and fiber cabling, patch cords, test equipment, UPS, racks, and cabinets.

As you prepare for the October 1, 2020 extension, WESCO can help you assess, provide products and solutions, and contract vehicles to meet the consolidation requirements.

Learn more about our Datacom solutions and capabilities.