In order for Federal agencies to make the best decisions about moving to the cloud, they have to optimize their data centers, according to IDC researchers.

The Federal government is moving to a cloud-first approach when it comes to IT infrastructure, which makes CIOs reluctant to invest in a Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) solution to optimize their data centers to meet Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI) requirements. Many agencies are still evaluating their data center metrics manually.

Shawn McCarthy, research director for IDC Government Insights, said during an Nlyte webinar that agencies need to move to an automated solution in order to get the right insights. A DCIM solution can provide relevant data on one dashboard.

“Ongoing measurement is what’s needed to let agencies see their progress and monitor their issues,” McCarthy said. “Better data really does mean better decision-making.”

Each quarter, agencies are required to submit information about their data centers to the Office of Management and Budget, for OMB to measure how the agencies are meeting DCOI requirements and plan for how data centers should be used in the future. The fiscal year 2018 DCOI Strategic Plans are due April 13, 2018.

“The critical first step for compliance is to assess what you have so you know what to improve,” said Jennifer Cooke, research director for IDC Data Center Management.

Cooke said that agencies should use a DCIM solution to monitor and improve power consumption, invest in intelligent infrastructure, and provide visibility across the data center landscape. The metrics can inform agency decisions on power capacity, space management, and thermal management, which can help with workload placement decisions, and future capacity needs.

“A solution that is highly targeted like that is required by 2018,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy said that CIOs should start talking with agency heads about current costs and potential long-term savings plans due to efficient data centers. DCOI mandates savings of $2.7 billion due to data center optimization by 2018.

“The goal is to get to the right size, not just downsize,” McCarthy said.

Cooke said that agencies should make use of the resources that they already have and to use data tools to get employees on board with potential changes.

“Having a single pane of truth is very helpful when you’re moving to a more collaborative environment,” Cooke said. “Do you have the right tools that help you with that human factor?”

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Morgan Lynch
Morgan Lynch
Morgan Lynch is a Staff Reporter for MeriTalk covering Federal IT and K-12 Education.