Congressman on OMB’s New Data Center Policy: ‘Thank God’

Rep. Gerald Connolly, D-Va

Rep. Gerald Connolly, D-Va J. Scott Applewhite/AP

The government operates at least 11,000 old-school data centers.

One of Congress’ biggest proponents of data center consolidation is excited the Office of Management and Budget’s new data center policy gives the federal chief information officer the power to tell agencies “no” when it comes to continued investment in legacy technologies.

Draft language of the Data Center Optimization Initiative, released this week, would force agencies to get permission from the Office of the Federal Chief Information Officer to build new energy-guzzling data centers. It also forces agencies to track metrics, like energy metering, and meet new energy-efficiency standards.

The new policy amounts to “‘Thou shall not build new data centers without permission from FCIO,’” Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., said at an event Thursday hosted by MeriTalk. “Thank God.”

Old-school data centers – the government operates at least 11,000 – and other legacy technology make up approximately three-quarters of the spending in the $80 billion federal IT budget.

Connolly has regularly pushed for closing outdated data centers and investing more money in emerging technologies. He said OMB’s new initiative could serve as a model for additional get-tough IT policies.

OMB could, for example, mandate through policy that agencies accept Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program security certifications conducted by the Joint Advisory Board, Connolly said.

Connolly’s remarks were in response to questions from audience members at the event, who complained that agencies were not reusing approved FedRAMP packages.

“OMB has that power,” Connolly said. “There is going to be precedent for that, and if we need more of that, let’s do more of it.”