Data centers still serving up modernization issues for federal IT
Data center modernization is proving itself as a constant struggle for federal IT. Approximately 84% of federal IT managers have a data center modernization strategy in place, but less than half are "applying the strategy consistently agency-wide," according to a MeriTalk report of federal leadership.
Only 22% of federal IT managers say that they have created an inventory of data centers they need to move or close while only 32% have audited their data centers to understand the current state of capabilities, according to the report.
- The Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI) was put in place for federal agencies to follow requirements set by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to "consolidate and modernize IT infrastructure." The original deadline was set for the end of FY18 but has since been extended to 2020 with 67% of federal IT managers approving of the extension. Less than one-fifth of federal IT managers said their agency was ready to meet the 2018 deadline.
Maintaining legacy systems is both restrictive and expensive, and pressure from the White House is pushing agencies to quickly adapt networks to more modern standards.
Data center effectiveness, as defined by federal IT managers, is the ability to maintain secure and protected data, "standing up and optimizing" applications essential to the agency's mission and consolidating to "maximize facility and server utilization," according to the report. About 57% of federal IT managers say their data centers are not optimal for their agency's mission.
Even with legislation like the Modernizing Government Technology Act (MGT) and the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA), creating an agency-wide partnership integral to the modernization process remains a point of disconnect.
The MGT Act was passed by the Senate last year, however, only 30% of respondents are "very satisfied" with the modernization progress of their agency. Even after the release of November's FITARA scorecard, officials did not see an increase in DCOI progress, but rather a continuation in the "laggard"-like reputation of federal IT.
Still, the transition is not impossible. By first targeting commodity IT, file systems and software ensures a smoother move to digital solutions with fewer physical data centers on-site.
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