recommended reading

It's Not Enough to Close a Few Data Centers; Those Left Must Become More Efficient


The Office of Management and Budget wants to focus less on simply closing federal data centers and more on making sure the government’s existing data center stock is operating as efficiently as possible, an OMB official said Thursday.

That’s why federal Chief Information Officer Steven VanRoekel’s office plans to roll its three-year-old data center consolidation initiative into a separate program called PortfolioStat, which audits agencies’ commodity information technology budgets to root out waste and inefficiencies, said OMB Portfolio Manager Scott Renda, who works in VanRoekel’s office.

OMB plans to officially consolidate the two programs in the near future, Renda said. He was speaking at a data center event sponsored by MeriTalk, an organization that sponsors events and conversations focused on federal technology.

“You’re going to see more focus on the right kind of metrics, efficiency metrics” Renda said. “[We’ll be] thinking about PUE [an energy measurement], thinking about storage, thinking about density measures that really talk to how efficient your infrastructure is. The goal with PortfolioStat is an efficient infrastructure that’s serving the mission of the agency. Consolidation is done to support that program and mission.”

OMB expects to save more than $5 billion by closing or consolidating federal data centers and by making data centers that remain more efficient, VanRoekel has said.

The agency regularly updates a tally of data centers it has closed or plans to close across government but has published fewer of the more complex performance measurements Renda described.

Agencies have had mixed success gathering those metrics. Dave Hinchman, assistant director of the Government Accountability Office’s IT management division, said during Thursday’s event that some agencies haven’t even reported how many square feet their data centers occupy. Agencies also have had difficulty gathering information about how much energy their data centers actually use. 

One ongoing goal of the data center optimization initiative will be determining which centers house information and processes that are vital to agencies’ missions and which data centers are performing less crucial tasks or tasks that require less security, Renda said.

Less crucial processes might be farmed out to other data centers within the agency or to government or private sector computer clouds. 

(Image via wavebreakmedia/

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.