DCOI More Than Just Closing Data Centers, GSA Official Says

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Focusing on the “compute” equation – instead of only prioritizing data center closures – is an important consideration in Federal agencies’ execution of the Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI), General Services Administration (GSA) Senior Adviser Stephen Naumann explained at a Dec. 18 ACT-IAC meeting.

To Naumann, “data center” is an obsolete term. He said that focusing on the building that holds the data is not the same as focusing on the compute, which is a more comprehensive approach to data monitoring.

“You have to look at your compute…because you’re looking at applications themselves, data centers, the data,” Naumann explained. “Look at what they have, and do the analysis on where they finally want to end up.”

GSA wants agencies to focus on DCOI, Cloud Smart, and application rationalization, he said, adding that the agency is using new policies and playbooks that help the Federal government focus on the compute aspect of data management. Tools like application rationalization are helping agencies prioritize computing with data.

“One of the things were trying to do with application rationalization is bringing out all the costs that you may not know [are] associated with that,” the GSA official said. “Even within departments, there’s different ways that money is being appropriated and that’s why…we’re trying to help them get better at showing exactly where those costs are going.”

For agencies unsure how to begin, Naumann recommended GSA’s tech playbooks. The playbooks offer valuable information on innovation, but are broad enough to fit individual agency missions, he said. The GSA official also recommended that agencies take advantage of new tech to alleviate some of the growing pains associated with DCOI.

“There’s nothing exciting about application rationalization. It’s all tedious grunt work. If there’s anything that can be done to automate that processes…that would be so much better,” he said.

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