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Optimization of Physical Data Centers

Classification of Physical Data Centers

For the purposes of this memorandum, rooms with at least one server, providing services (whether in a production, test, stage, development, or any other environment), are considered data centers. However, rooms containing only routing equipment, switches, security devices (such as firewalls), or other telecommunications components shall not be considered data centers. Agencies shall perform a comprehensive review of their data center inventories and continue to maintain complete and updated data center inventories. This comprehensive review shall be completed by February 28, 2016, to align with the Integrated Data Collection (IDC) process.

Data centers shall be categorized into two groups: tiered14 data centers and non-tiered data centers. Tiered data centers are defined as those that utilize each of the following: 1) a separate physical space for IT infrastructure; 2) an uninterruptible power supply (UPS); 3) an independent cooling system; and 4) a backup power generator for prolonged power outages. All other data centers shall be considered non-tiered data centers.15 Private sector-provided cloud services are not considered data centers for the purposes of this memorandum.

Agencies shall self-classify data centers as either tiered or non-tiered data centers based on the above criteria; however, any data center previously reported to OMB as a Tier 1-4 data center shall be automatically categorized as a tiered data center.

Under this memorandum, OMB sets closure and optimization targets that are applicable to each type of data center. Additionally, the terms "core" and "non-core" will no longer be used as the categorical benchmarks for OMB oversight.

Energy Metering and Power Efficiency

Agencies shall install automated energy metering tools and shall use these to collect and report to OMB energy usage data in their data centers. The March 19, 2015, Executive Order 13693, "Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade," requires agencies to install and monitor advanced energy meters in all data centers by September 30, 2018.16

OMB will monitor the energy efficiency of data centers through a Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) metric.17 Energy metering tools shall enable the active tracking of PUE for the data center and shall be installed in all tiered Federal data centers by September 30, 2018.18

Agency CIOs are required to ensure that existing tiered data centers achieve and maintain a PUE of less than 1.5 by September 30, 2018. Effective immediately, all new data centers must implement advanced energy metering and be designed and operated to maintain a PUE no greater than 1.4, and are encouraged to be designed and operated to achieve a PUE no greater than 1.2.

Pursuant to Executive Order 13693, for existing data centers in which a PUE target of less than 1.5 is not cost-effective, agencies shall evaluate consolidation or closure, such as through transition to cloud services or migration to inter-agency shared services data centers.19

To the extent permissible under the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), agencies must include PUE requirements for all new data center contracts or procurement vehicles. Further, any new data center contract or procurement vehicle must require the contractor to report the quarterly average PUE of the contracted facility20 to the contracting agency, except where that data center's PUE is already being reported directly to OMB or GSA through participation in a multi-agency service program. Agencies are encouraged to require the same for extension of existing vehicles. PUE reporting is not required for cloud services.

Automated Infrastructure Management

Agencies shall replace manual collections and reporting of systems, software, and hardware inventory housed within data centers with automated monitoring, inventory, and management tools (e.g., data center infrastructure management) by the end of fiscal year 2018. These tools shall provide the capability to, at a minimum, measure progress toward the server utilization and virtualization metrics defined in the Metric Target Values section of this memorandum.21

Any data center initiation, significant expansion, or migration project that receives DM&E funds in fiscal year 2017 and beyond must immediately implement automated monitoring and management tools. However, agencies are strongly encouraged to implement automated monitoring and management tools throughout their data centers immediately.

To the extent permissible under the FAR, agencies must include automated infrastructure management requirements for all new data center service contracts or procurement vehicles. Further, any new data center contractor procurement vehicle must require the contractor to report to the contracting agency whether the contracted facility utilizes automated infrastructure management, except where such data is already being reported directly to OMB or GSA through participation in a multi-agency service program. Agencies are encouraged to require the same for extension of existing vehicles.

GSA shall establish an acquisition vehicle to support agency needs for automated monitoring and management tools. Once established, agencies shall not issue new solicitations for these requirements unless they have developed a business case, approved by the agency's CIO and shared with OMB, to establish that the separate procurement of these needs results in better value, considering price and other appropriate factors.

GSA shall establish an acquisition vehicle to support agency needs for automated monitoring and management tools. Once established, agencies shall not issue new solicitations for these requirements unless they have developed a business case, approved by the agency's CIO and shared with OMB, to establish that the separate procurement of these needs results in better value, considering price and other appropriate factors.

Footnotes

  • 14The term "tiered" and the definitions that follow are derived from the Uptime Institute's Tier Classification System; however, this shall not be construed to require any certification in order for a data center to be considered tiered by OMB.
  • 15Data centers previously classified as tiered in past inventories will automatically be classified as tiered under the DCOI.
  • 16Executive Order, "Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade" https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/03/19/executive-order-planning-federal-sustainability-next-decade
  • 17PUE is determined by dividing the amount of power entering a data center by the power used to run the data center computing infrastructure.
  • 18While Executive Order 13693 requires advanced energy metering in all data centers, OMB will monitor PUE for tiered data centers only.
  • 19See "Implementing Instructions for Executive Order 13693, 'Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade'" https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/eo\_13693\_implementing\_instructions\_june\_10\_2015.pdf
  • 20This can be PUE for the facility as a whole in cases where the agency only contracts for a portion of a larger facility. However if PUE metrics are available specific to the Agency's use, that is preferred.
  • 21For non-tiered data centers, only automated monitoring of server utilization is required.