Most agencies running behind on OMB’s Data Center Optimization Initiative

GAO recommends that Congress consider extending a fiscal year 2018 deadline.
(Getty Images)

Most of the federal agencies required to participate in recent federal data center optimizations efforts do not plan to meet mandated targets by the end of fiscal 2018, a new Government Accountability Office report finds.

Of the 24 agencies required to meet the Office of Management and Budget’s Data Center Optimization Initiative targets by the Sept. 30, 2018, deadline, 17 reported they’re not likely to do so.

The report assesses agency progress across five OMB targets: server utilization and automated monitoring, energy metering, power usage effectiveness, facility utilization, and virtualization.

Just five agencies —the Commerce Department, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Small Business Administration, the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Agency for International Development — are on their way to meeting goals in each of these areas. For some targets, like server utilization and automated monitoring, much less progress has been made.


Two agencies — the departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development — did not have “have any reported agency-owned data centers in [their] inventory and, therefore, did not have a basis to measure and report on optimization progress.” Therefore, they were not applicable to the measurements.

You can see agencies’ progress in real-time on the IT Dashboard. 

As such, GAO recommends that Congress consider extending the timeframe for data center consolidation under the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act so that agencies can meet the requirements.

“Extending the time frame of these provisions would increase the likelihood that agencies will meet OMB’s optimization targets and realize related cost savings,” the report states. “Until agencies improve their optimization progress, OMB’s $2.7 billion initiative-wide cost savings goal may not be achievable.”

In a statement Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-VA., an author of FITARA, called GAO’s findings “disappointing but not surprising.”


Connolly is also the author of a new bill that, if passed, will extend optimization deadlines.

“This GAO report clearly states that extending the time frame for agencies to implement the Data Center Optimization Initiative would increase the likelihood that agencies will meet OMB’s optimization targets and realize related cost savings,” Connolly said. “GAO’s recommendation that Congress extend the time frame for the data center consolidation and optimization provisions of FITARA beyond the current expiration date of October 1, 2018, already has bipartisan support in the FITARA Enhancement Act, and I am hopeful Congress will pass this legislation soon.”

The DCOI, finalized in August 2016, has ambitious goals around reducing the number of federal data centers. As FedScoop has previously reported, it mandates that agencies close at least 25 percent of their tiered data centers — centers with separate physical space, uninterruptible power supply, dedicated cooling systems and a backup generator — and 60 percent of non-tiered data centers, which are smaller systems, like server rooms and nodes.

The policy also calls for agencies to reduce annual data center costs by at least 25 percent by fiscal year 2018, another goal this recent GAO report indicates is now at risk.

The report also recommends that agencies complete and update their plans to achieve DCOI compliance — ten agencies agreed with this recommendation, three partially agreed and six neither agreed nor disagreed.

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