OMB Sticks to its Guns in Finalized DCOI Policy

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) finalized the Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI) policy on June 25, largely keeping the draft policy in place despite criticisms from Congress and industry.

The finalized policy, released in a memo from Federal CIO Suzette Kent, keeps the framework of the draft DCOI policy in place, removing metrics on energy efficiency and facility utilization, adding a metric for availability, and revising metrics for virtualization, energy metering, and server utilization.

The final version includes some wording changes to emphasize the role of closures, but sticks to the overarching theme of a greater focus on optimization.

“The government has picked off much of the ‘low-hanging’ fruit of easily-consolidated infrastructure. OMB now will focus on targeted improvements in key areas where agencies can make meaningful improvements and achieve further cost savings through optimization and closures,” the policy states.

OMB finalized the DCOI policy despite some pushback from members of Congress and industry. Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., chair of the House Government Operations Subcommittee, offered his criticism of the draft DCOI policy in January, and industry feedback showed concerns about the shift from consolidation to optimization.

Agencies will no longer have to report server closets in their data center inventories, and will be able to request exemptions for special cases like high-performance computing nodes, air traffic control systems, and MRI machines.

New to the finalized policy is the plan for OMB to “recommend guidelines for reasonable performance on [performance] metrics” aimed at tiered data centers. The finalized policy also notes that agencies are “expected” to have advanced energy metering for data centers over 100 kilowatts.

The finalized version of the policy also expands on the server utilization metric, explaining the reason for the shift and noting that practices outside of data center management, like DevSecOps, can help raise utilization in a sustainable way.

As in the draft, DCOI sets the following priorities for agencies:

  • Consolidation and Closure
  • Optimization
    1. Virtualization
    2. Availability
    3. Energy Metering
    4. Server Utilization

The finalized DCOI policy also further aligns with the recently released Cloud Smart strategy by placing a greater emphasis on application rationalization than the draft version.

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