DCOI Feedback Shows Concerns Over Modernization Slowdown

Public comments on the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB’s) draft Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI) policy show a desire for OMB to continue the push for modernization amid new metrics and a shift towards optimization over data center closures.

Organizations responding to the draft DCOI policy made their desire for continued progress clear, and cautioned against loosening requirements for fear of backsliding on the policy’s overarching goals.

“We are concerned that elements of the updated DCOI policy could be misconstrued to suggest a pullback from the administration’s clear vision of modernization, and could make measurement of progress towards that goal more difficult,” said the Internet Association in its comments. The trade group called on OMB to “continue to set a clear, well-defined north star for data center closures for agencies.”

Among its suggested revisions, the organization recommended using commercial cloud solutions to lower costs, continuing to require agencies to consolidate server closets, and including guidance on containerization and virtualization.

Many of the Internet Association’s views were shared by fellow trade-group the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI).

“While we are encouraged by the extension of the FITARA requirements, our member companies are concerned that the revised DCOI policy deviates from the policies and goals outlined in the Report to the President on IT Modernization, as well as the President’s Management Agenda,” said ITI in its comments. ITI recommended more guidance on determining cost-effectiveness, more usage of commercial terms and conditions, and delaying finalization until the Cloud Smart policy is finalized, citing the close connection between the two policies.

“As your office looks to revise policy, we would encourage you to provide agencies with the tools and guidance to move away from legacy IT and to enable the modernization of systems, whether it be ‘low-hanging fruit’ or larger scale projects,” ITI noted in its comments.

Those sentiments were echoed by the Professional Services Council (PSC) in its response to the draft policy.

“The updated DCOI policy should not be a simple revision that anticipates only diminishing returns from this decade-long IT rationalization effort. Rather it should be a bold initiative to support digital transformation across the federal government,” PSC noted. “PSC thus urges OMB to go further and faster than the policies outlined in the draft DCOI memo.”

PSC outlined 20 areas of comment on the draft policy, and in particular called on OMB to: clarify that data center closure is a top priority; leverage commercial innovation to optimize data centers; and prioritize migration from data centers to cloud computing technologies.

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