In addition to having to find ways to meet the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative (FDDCI) and the Cloud First mandate, agencies are under pressure to improve efficiency and productivity while reducing costs.
If federal agencies weren’t willing or able to consider moving to a software defined data center before, they may be willing to consider it now.
There have been signs all along that it’s the right move; in addition to having to find ways to meet the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative (FDDCI) and the Cloud First mandate, agencies are under pressure to improve efficiency and productivity while reducing costs.
The latest federal mandate affecting the data center may be just the thing to cause agencies to make the switch. The Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI), announced in March, prevents federal agencies from building or expanding data centers unless they can prove that it’s necessary. Replacing the less strict FDDCI, the DCOI mandate puts the burden of proof on agencies, and the rules make it pretty difficult for agencies to get a waiver.
The DCOI mandate is an additional burden on federal CIOs, who already are under pressure to close data centers through consolidation and other means. According to the Office of Management and Budget, the federal government currently has nearly 12,000 data centers, up from about 9,000 in 2014.
While these requirements are hard on federal agencies, they are not only an opportunity for managed services providers, but a chance for federal agencies to start reaping the benefits of the software defined approach to data centers.
Many agencies are halfway there already. For example, the Defense Department has saved $260 million through virtualization and associated efforts over the past four years, according to the Government Accountability Office. Many federal data centers also employ some degree of virtualization at the storage, server and/or network level, with some even going so far as to implement hyperconverged infrastructure.
These efforts are good steps on the path toward the true software-defined data center. By taking that next step, agencies can make real progress toward saving money and increasing productivity and efficiency. For example, according to a study by Meritalk, only 11 percent of federal IT managers felt their data centers were fully equipped to meet their agency’s current mission demands, and only 5 percent believe their data center could handle the agency’s needs in 2021. The same study also found that more than half expected that their agency would save at least 20 percent of their IT budget by addressing data center power consumption, capacity, footprint, speed and security—all factors that can be addressed with the software defined data center.
Efficiency is another area where the SDDC model could help agencies achieve their goals. A 2015 report from IDC Government found that IT operations teams typically spend more than 70 percent of their time on day-to-day IT management operations like troubleshooting, monitoring, updating and configuring resources. That number could be decreased significantly by streamlining infrastructure through a software defined data center.
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