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Step One in Optimizing Data Centers: Know What You Have

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The Defense Logistics Agency is in the process of optimizing its existing 16 data centers and eventually consolidating to two, but first, it has to know what it has.

Enter ARServices, a tech consultancy based in Alexandria, Virginia. The company recently won a contract to help DLA optimize its data centers and meet requirements laid out in Data Center Optimization Initiative, established by the White House last year.

Its first order of business?

Inventorying every single IT asset owned by DLA, a combat support agency with 26,000 civilian and military personnel across the world.

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“[Our job] is to make sure everything is accounted for,” ARServices’ John Stanton, who manages the company’s DLA efforts, told Nextgov.

Going through 16 data centers, some of which reside outside the continental United States, is a challenging feat.

Hardware like laptops and monitors and associated accessories must be identified, but ARServices must also catalog what software is being used and where, and provide comprehensive data regarding software licensing to ensure DLA remains compliant.

In recent comments to FCW, Kathy Cutler, DLA's director of information operations and chief information officer, said her agency is finding applications it didn’t even know it had.

"What we're running into when we are doing this is there are things out there that no one really had visibility of," Cutler told FCW. "So when you actually go out and do the inventory of the servers or whatever else that may be there in the data center, we're discovering new applications or new things that nobody was really managing actively in the beginning."

Ultimately, DLA wants to have two data centers in Dayton, Ohio, and Tracy, California, expecting savings through reduced energy consumption and repurposed personnel through the closure of the rest of its data centers. In addition, DLA’s optimization push includes a move to virtual desktops, cloud-based email for its thousands of users and Windows 10 deployments across the enterprise.

But those goals won’t come to fruition without a complete inventory of its existing assets.

“We’re providing an accurate snapshot of what they have,” Stanton said.  

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