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Promoting the Use of Green IT

We're taking action to accelerate efforts to increase the efficiency of Federal data centers, reduce costs, and improve the government's overall IT security posture.

Today, the Administration is taking action to accelerate efforts to increase the efficiency of Federal data centers, reduce costs, and improve the overall information technology (IT) security posture of the Federal Government.

In 2010, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) launched the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative (FDCCI) to promote the use of green IT: that is, reduce 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 Federal Government; and shift IT investments to more efficient computing platforms and technologies.

In the years since the launch of the FDCCI, we’ve witnessed enormous progress optimizing the Federal Government’s data center inventory.  Agencies have closed over 1,900 data centers, reducing the real estate footprint of Federal data centers by more than 1.2 million square feet, and made significant strides toward optimizing existing data centers.  These efforts have resulted in nearly $1 billion in savings and a Federal data center inventory that is more efficient, effective, and secure.

The Data Center Optimization Initiative, released today, continues and builds upon this progress and ensures robust implementation of the data center provisions of the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA). The Initiative requires agencies to implement strategies to consolidate inefficient infrastructure, optimize existing facilities, improve security posture, achieve cost savings, and transition to more efficient infrastructure, such as cloud services and inter-agency shared services.

Specifically, to accomplish the above, the Initiative will drive progress in three primary areas within agencies’ data center management strategies:

  • Optimization: Agencies will be required to achieve five optimization targets that will dramatically improve the efficiency of Federal data centers. These targets include the installation of energy metering to track power consumption; a power usage effectiveness (PUE) target to improve energy efficiency; virtualization and server utilization metrics to ensure IT equipment is being utilized efficiently; and a facility utilization metric to drive more efficient use of space in Federal data centers.
  • Close Data Centers: In addition to improving efficiency in existing data centers, the Initiative sets a bold yet achievable goal to close and consolidate duplicative Federal data centers.  Over the three year initiative, agencies are required to close at least 25% of their tiered data centers (i.e. large data center facilities) and 60% of their non-tiered data centers (i.e. server rooms). This target will result in the closure of approximately 52% of the overall Federal data center inventory and a reduction of approximately 31% in the real estate footprint occupied by data centers Government-wide.
  • Cost Savings: Progress in optimizing and consolidating Federal data centers will yield substantial cost savings and avoidance.  As such, the Initiative sets a goal of reducing annual costs associated with Federal data centers by at least 25% by the end of fiscal year 2018.  In total, this will result in $2.7 billion in cost savings and avoidances over the three year initiative.

Additional reforms in the Data Center Optimization Initiative include strengthened and direct CIO authority over data center-related budgeting and management decisions, increased use of the cloud and inter-agency shared services, and replacement of manual data collection with more accurate and efficient automated monitoring tools.

The important work agencies are undertaking as part of the Data Center Optimization Initiative will help move the Federal Government toward an IT portfolio that is more efficient, more effective, more secure, and better able to deliver world-class services to the American people.


Tony Scott is the U.S. Chief Information Officer.