MeriTalk today announced the winners of its inaugural FITARA Awards program, recognizing six Federal agencies who have made tremendous strides in modernizing their IT environments and one congressional leader who has worked tirelessly to promote the reform of IT acquisitions and adoption of cyber best practices. […]

DHS Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation (CDM) is pivotal to improving government cybersecurity. While it’s critical, it has a lot of moving parts–and that can make it difficult to follow. MeriTalk sat down with Kevin Cox to get a handle on the state of CDM, as well as an understanding of where the program goes from here. And, it’s quite a story–so I hope you’re sitting comfortably, feel free to grab a cup of coffee.






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The Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA), passed by Congress in December 2014, represented the first major legislative overhaul of Federal IT in nearly 20 years. Beginning in November 2015, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released two scorecards a year grading agencies’ performance under the law. Suffice to say, agencies haven’t always been making the GAO’s Honor Roll, with plenty of Cs and Ds to go around. However, many agencies have made significant improvements over the last 3 years.






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The Federal government has a massive data center footprint: 6.76 million square feet, to be precise. Of its total portfolio, an astonishing 62 percent of all floor center space goes unused. To add insult to injury, it’s extremely expensive to maintain all that unused space.






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The journey to meet the requirements of the Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI) has been long, difficult, and full of roadblocks–and, from the back seat, we can hear anxious voices asking when the trip will be over. With the extension earlier this year of the 2018 DCOI deadline to 2020, agencies are clearly still looking for the right routes to take.






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Even with the Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI) deadlines pushed out to 2020, Federal agencies face significant pressure to expedite cloud migrations and consolidate their compute environments in a secure and cost-effective manner. Now, with the passage of the Modernizing Government Technology (MGT) Act, agencies may need to demonstrate significant progress in this area to justify their MGT Act budget requests.






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The 2018 Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI) deadlines for data center closures have been officially extended to 2020. That’s a good thing, as MeriTalk’s latest research found that fewer than one in five Federal data center leaders say their agency was on track to meet their DCOI goals for that 2018 deadline. MeriTalk’s “Data Center 2020” study looked at what’s still holding agencies back, and steps data center leaders are taking to get into a better position for success.  






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As you open your fortune cookie–you might ask, will 2018 be the year of widespread deployment of Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) tools across Federal data centers?






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In order for agencies to meet Data Center Optimization Initiative requirements, many are choosing Data Center Infrastructure Management Solutions to help them visualize what’s going on inside their data centers. “We were looking at optimization before DCOI and DCIM was cool,” said Pruitt Hall, project manager for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s DCIM implementation.






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Federal agencies are refocusing their IT efforts in order to look at problems from an enterprise perspective rather than by individual bureau. “When you’re looking at the bureau you have money kind of stuck and stovepiped in that level,” said Melonie Parker-Hill, division chief of the enterprise operations center at the State Department.






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A bipartisan group of senators proposed legislation to extend certain provisions in the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act. The extension would add two years to agencies’ data center consolidation efforts. The bill is the same as the FITARA Extension amendment that was adopted by the House of Representatives in July.






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In order for Federal agencies to keep up with Data Center Optimization Initiative deadlines, agencies need to step away from the spreadsheets and turn instead to a data center infrastructure management tool. Industry leaders from Schneider Electric and Nlyte said that agencies that are on track to meet the 2018 deadline are able to track data center metrics such as power usage effectiveness, server utilization, and visualization in real time.






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