Data Center Consolidation:

Agencies Need to Complete Inventories and Plans to Achieve Expected Savings

GAO-11-565: Published: Jul 19, 2011. Publicly Released: Jul 26, 2011.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

David A. Powner
(202) 512-9286
contact@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

Over time, the federal government's demand for information technology has led to a dramatic rise in the number of federal data centers and an increase in operational costs. Recognizing this increase, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has launched a governmentwide initiative to consolidate data centers. GAO was asked to (1) assess whether agency consolidation documents include adequate detail for agencies to consolidate their centers, (2) identify the key consolidation challenges reported by agencies, and (3) evaluate whether lessons learned during state government consolidation efforts could be leveraged at the federal level. To address these objectives, GAO assessed the completeness of agency inventories and plans, interviewed agencies about their challenges, and evaluated the applicability of states' consolidation lessons to federal challenges.

In launching its federal data center consolidation initiative, OMB required the 24 participating agencies to submit data center inventories and consolidation plans by the end of August 2010, and provided guidance on key elements to include in the inventories and plans--such as hardware and software assets, goals, schedules, and cost-benefit calculations. The plans indicate that agencies anticipate closing about 650 data centers by fiscal year 2015 and saving about $700 million in doing so. However, only one of the agencies submitted a complete inventory and no agency submitted complete plans. Further, OMB did not require agencies to document the steps they took, if any, to verify the inventory data. For example, in their inventories, 14 agencies do not provide a complete listing of data centers and 15 do not list all of their software assets. Also, in their consolidation plans, 20 agencies do not reference a master schedule, 12 agencies do not address cost-benefit calculations, and 9 do not address risk management. The reason for these gaps, according to several agency officials, was that they had difficulty completing their inventories and plans within OMB's timelines. Until these inventories and plans are complete, agencies may not be able to implement their consolidation activities and realize expected cost savings. Moreover, without an understanding of the validity of agencies' consolidation data, OMB cannot be assured that agencies are providing a sound baseline for estimating consolidation savings and measuring progress against those goals. Agencies identified multiple challenges during data center consolidation, including those that are specific to OMB's consolidation initiative as well as those that are cultural, funding-related, operational, and technical in nature. For example, in attempting to fulfill OMB's requirements, 19 agencies reported difficulty in obtaining power usage data. In addition, 9 agencies reported challenges in maintaining services during the transition to consolidated services. Moving forward, it will be important for agencies to focus on mitigating such challenges as they implement their consolidation plans. Many state governments have undertaken data center consolidation initiatives in recent years and have encountered challenges similar to those reported by federal agencies. Specifically, 19 states reported lessons learned that could be leveraged at the federal level. For example, a West Virginia official reported that since the state had no funding for data center consolidation, it used the natural aging cycle of hardware to force consolidation; that is, when a piece of hardware was ready to be replaced, the new applications and software were put onto a consolidated server. Also, officials from North Carolina reported that organizations are typically concerned that by consolidating data centers, they will lose control of their data, service levels will decline, or costs will rise. The state learned that during the process of consolidation, the organizations' concerns should be documented, validated, and addressed. GAO is recommending that the Federal Chief Information Officer, department secretaries, and agency heads take steps to ensure that agency data center inventories and consolidation plans are complete. Most agencies agreed with GAO's recommendations. Defense and SSA did not agree to complete all missing elements of their inventories and plans. Based on OMB guidance on the importance of these elements, GAO maintains these recommendations to be reasonable and appropriate.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In July 2011, OMB issued guidance to the 24 Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative agencies requiring them to submit complete consolidation plans by the end of September 2011, and to also provide a signed verification letter from their CIO which attests to the completeness of agency and subordinate organization consolidation plans, actions agencies took to verify their asset inventories, and any limitations of inventory and consolidation plan information. In March 2012, OMB further expanded on this guidance by requiring that all agencies, by the end of the fourth quarter of every fiscal year, submit an updated consolidation plan along with a signed verification letter similar to what was required in 2011.

    Recommendation: To better ensure that the federal data center consolidation initiative improves governmental efficiency and achieves cost savings, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget should direct the Federal Chief Information Officer to require that agencies, when updating their data center inventories in the third quarter of each fiscal year, state what actions have been taken to verify the inventories and to identify any limitations of this information.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In July 2011, OMB issued guidance to the 24 Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative agencies requiring them to submit complete consolidation plans by the end of September 2011. In March 2012, OMB further expanded on this guidance by requiring that all agencies, by the end of the fourth quarter of every fiscal year, complete all elements missing from their consolidation plans and to submit an updated consolidation plan.

    Recommendation: To better ensure that the federal data center consolidation initiative improves governmental efficiency and achieves cost savings, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget should direct the Federal Chief Information Officer to require that agencies complete the missing elements in their respective plans and submit complete data center consolidation plans, or provide a schedule for when they will do so, by September 30, 2011.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In July 2011, OMB issued guidance to the 24 Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative agencies requiring them to submit complete consolidation plans by the end of September 2011, which were to reflect consolidation challenges experienced to date and to integrate lessons learned.

    Recommendation: To better ensure that the federal data center consolidation initiative improves governmental efficiency and achieves cost savings, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget should direct the Federal Chief Information Officer to require agencies to consider consolidation challenges and lessons learned when updating their plans.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

  4. Status: Open

    Comments: The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has taken initial steps to implement our recommendation, but additional actions are needed. In 2011, to help improve the completeness of agency's consolidation plans, the Chief Information Officer Council's Data Center Consolidation Task Force established a peer review program. As part of this effort, agencies were partnered with agencies of similar size and complexity to exchange consolidation plans. Each partner was to review the other's plan and provide feedback on compliance, completeness, and clarity. However, we reported in June 2012 that only 1 of the 24 agency consolidation plans was complete. Subsequently, in March 2013, OMB issued a memorandum that made significant changes to the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative's reporting requirements, including eliminating the requirement for agencies to submit the previously required data center consolidation plans. However, OMB's memorandum stated that agencies are still required to submit yearly updates of their data center inventories--a key component of the previously-required consolidation plans. As of August 2014, many agencies' inventories did not include complete information in key areas, including power capacity, energy usage, and facility staffing. We will continue to review the extent to which the Data Center Consolidation Task Force has assessed agencies' data center consolidation information, including agencies data center inventories, to ensure that it is complete, and monitored agencies' implementation of their consolidation efforts.

    Recommendation: To better ensure that the federal data center consolidation initiative improves governmental efficiency and achieves cost savings, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget should direct the Federal Chief Information Officer to utilize the existing accountability infrastructure by requiring the Data Center Consolidation Task Force to assess agency consolidation plans to ensure they are complete and to monitor the agencies' implementation of their plans.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Education agreed with, and has taken steps to implement, our recommendation. In March 2013, the Office of Management and Budget issued a memorandum that made significant changes to the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative's reporting requirements, including eliminating the requirement for agencies (including the Department of Education) to submit the previously required data center consolidation plans. However, the memorandum stated that agencies were still required update their data center inventories yearly. As of May 2014, the Department of Education's updated inventory substantially addressed previously missing elements, such as information related to power capacity information, phases of closure for its targeted facilities, and staffing information and related costs.

    Recommendation: The secretaries and agency heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Office of Personnel Management, the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development should direct their component agencies and their data center consolidation program managers to complete the missing elements in their respective data center consolidation inventories and plans.

    Agency Affected: Department of Education

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Agriculture agreed with, and has taken steps to implement, our recommendation. In March 2013, the Office of Management and Budget issued a memorandum that made significant changes to the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative's reporting requirements, including eliminating the requirement for agencies (including the Department of Agriculture) to submit the previously required data center consolidation plans. However, the memorandum stated that agencies were still required update their data center inventories yearly. As of May 2014, the Department of Agriculture's updated inventory addressed previously missing elements, such as information related to IT servers and power usage and capacity.

    Recommendation: The secretaries and agency heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Office of Personnel Management, the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development should direct their component agencies and their data center consolidation program managers to complete the missing elements in their respective data center consolidation inventories and plans.

    Agency Affected: Department of Agriculture

  7. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The National Science Foundation (NSF) has taken steps to implement our recommendation. In March 2013, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a memorandum that made significant changes to the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative's reporting requirements, including eliminating the requirement for agencies (including NSF) to submit the previously required data center consolidation plans. However, the memorandum stated that agencies were still required to update their data center inventories yearly. As of May 2014, NSF's updated inventory provided complete information on physical servers, virtualization, energy usage, network storage, and data center information.

    Recommendation: The secretaries and agency heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Office of Personnel Management, the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development should direct their component agencies and their data center consolidation program managers to complete the missing elements in their respective data center consolidation inventories and plans.

    Agency Affected: National Science Foundation

  8. Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Energy has taken initial steps to implement our recommendation, but additional actions are needed. In March 2013, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a memorandum that made significant changes to the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative's reporting requirements, including eliminating the requirement for agencies (including the Department of Energy) to submit the previously required data center consolidation plans. However, the memorandum stated that agencies were still required update their data center inventories yearly. As of May 2014, the Department of Energy's updated inventory provided complete information on physical servers, virtualization, and network storage, but provided incomplete information on other key elements, such as power capacity, energy usage, and facility staffing and related costs. We will continue to evaluate the department's progress in implementing this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The secretaries and agency heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Office of Personnel Management, the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development should direct their component agencies and their data center consolidation program managers to complete the missing elements in their respective data center consolidation inventories and plans.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  9. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Homeland Security agreed with, and has taken steps to implement, our recommendation. In March 2013, the Office of Management and Budget issued a memorandum that made significant changes to the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative's reporting requirements, including eliminating the requirement for agencies (including the Department of Homeland Security) to submit the previously required data center consolidation plans. However, the memorandum stated that agencies were still required update their data center inventories yearly. As of July 2014, the Department of Homeland Security's updated inventory substantially addressed previously missing elements, such as information related to IT server types, virtualization, and network storage.

    Recommendation: The secretaries and agency heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Office of Personnel Management, the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development should direct their component agencies and their data center consolidation program managers to complete the missing elements in their respective data center consolidation inventories and plans.

    Agency Affected: Department of Homeland Security

  10. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Justice agreed with, and has taken steps to implement, our recommendation. In March 2013, the Office of Management and Budget issued a memorandum that made significant changes to the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative's reporting requirements, including eliminating the requirement for agencies (including the Department of Justice) to submit the previously required data center consolidation plans. However, the memorandum stated that agencies were still required update their data center inventories yearly. As of May 2014, the Department of Justice's updated inventory substantially addressed previously missing elements, such as information related to physical servers, virtualization, and network storage.

    Recommendation: The secretaries and agency heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Office of Personnel Management, the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development should direct their component agencies and their data center consolidation program managers to complete the missing elements in their respective data center consolidation inventories and plans.

    Agency Affected: Department of Justice

  11. Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of the Treasury has taken initial steps to implement our recommendation, but additional actions are needed. In March 2013, the Office of Management and Budget issued a memorandum that made significant changes to the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative's reporting requirements, including eliminating the requirement for agencies (including the Treasury) to submit the previously required data center consolidation plans. However, the memorandum stated that agencies were still required update their data center inventories yearly. As of May 2014, the department's updated inventory provides complete information for virtualization, but provides incomplete information on other key elements, such as information related to rack counts, power metering, electricity usage, data storage capacity, and staffing information. We will continue to evaluate the department's progress in implementing this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The secretaries and agency heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Office of Personnel Management, the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development should direct their component agencies and their data center consolidation program managers to complete the missing elements in their respective data center consolidation inventories and plans.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Treasury

  12. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of the Interior agreed with, and has taken steps to implement, our recommendation. In March 2013, the Office of Management and Budget issued a memorandum that made significant changes to the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative's reporting requirements, including eliminating the requirement for agencies (including the Department of the Interior) to submit the previously required data center consolidation plans. However, the memorandum stated that agencies were still required update their data center inventories yearly. As of May 2014, the Department of the Interior's updated inventory substantially addressed previously missing elements, such as information related to power metering, electricity usage, and data center types.

    Recommendation: The secretaries and agency heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Office of Personnel Management, the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development should direct their component agencies and their data center consolidation program managers to complete the missing elements in their respective data center consolidation inventories and plans.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

  13. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Office of Personnel Management agreed with, and has taken steps to implement, our recommendation. In March 2013, the Office of Management and Budget issued a memorandum that made significant changes to the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative's reporting requirements, including eliminating the requirement for agencies (including the Office of Personnel Management) to submit the previously required data center consolidation plans. However, the memorandum stated that agencies were still required update their data center inventories yearly. As of May 2014, the Office of Personal Management's updated inventory substantially addressed previously missing elements, such as information related IT servers, facility information, and network storage.

    Recommendation: The secretaries and agency heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Office of Personnel Management, the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development should direct their component agencies and their data center consolidation program managers to complete the missing elements in their respective data center consolidation inventories and plans.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

  14. Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has taken initial steps to implement our recommendation, but additional actions are needed. In March 2013, the Office of Management and Budget issued a memorandum that made significant changes to the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative's reporting requirements, including eliminating the requirement for agencies (including HHS) to submit the previously required data center consolidation plans. However, the memorandum stated that agencies were still required update their data center inventories yearly. As of May 2014, HHS's updated inventory provided complete information on physical servers, virtualization, and network storage, but provided incomplete information on other key elements, such as power capacity, energy usage, and facility staffing. We will continue to evaluate the department's progress in implementing this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The secretaries and agency heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Office of Personnel Management, the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development should direct their component agencies and their data center consolidation program managers to complete the missing elements in their respective data center consolidation inventories and plans.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services

  15. Status: Open

    Comments: The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) agreed with, and has taken initial steps to implement, our recommendation; however, additional actions are needed. In March 2013, the Office of Management and Budget issued a memorandum that made significant changes to the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative's reporting requirements, including eliminating the requirement for agencies (including USAID) to submit the previously required data center consolidation plans. However, the memorandum stated that agencies were still required to update their data center inventories yearly. As of June 2014, USAID's updated inventory provided complete information on physical servers, virtualization, and network storage, but provided incomplete information on other key elements, such as data center power capacity, electricity usage, and facility staffing. We will continue to evaluate USAID's progress in implementing this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The secretaries and agency heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Office of Personnel Management, the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development should direct their component agencies and their data center consolidation program managers to complete the missing elements in their respective data center consolidation inventories and plans.

    Agency Affected: United States Agency for International Development

  16. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Social Security Administration (SSA) has taken steps to implement our recommendation. In March 2013, the Office of Management and Budget issued a memorandum that made significant changes to the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative's reporting requirements, including eliminating the requirement for agencies (including SSA) to submit the previously required data center consolidation plans. However, the memorandum stated that agencies were still required update their data center inventories yearly. As of May 2014, SSA's updated inventory provided complete information on physical servers, virtualization, energy usage, network storage, and data center information.

    Recommendation: The secretaries and agency heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Office of Personnel Management, the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development should direct their component agencies and their data center consolidation program managers to complete the missing elements in their respective data center consolidation inventories and plans.

    Agency Affected: Social Security Administration

  17. Status: Open

    Comments: The General Services Administration (GSA) agreed with, and has taken initial steps to implement, our recommendation; however, additional actions are needed. In March 2013, the Office of Management and Budget issued a memorandum that made significant changes to the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative's reporting requirements, including eliminating the requirement for agencies (including GSA) to submit the previously required data center consolidation plans. However, the memorandum stated that agencies were still required to update their data center inventories yearly. As of June 2014, GSA's updated inventory provided complete information on physical servers, virtualization, and network storage, but provided incomplete information on other key elements, such as data center power capacity, electricity usage, and facility staffing. We will continue to evaluate the agency's progress in implementing this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The secretaries and agency heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Office of Personnel Management, the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development should direct their component agencies and their data center consolidation program managers to complete the missing elements in their respective data center consolidation inventories and plans.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  18. Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce has taken initial steps to implement our recommendation, but additional actions are needed. Specifically, Commerce submitted an updated consolidation plan in September 2011. While the department's consolidation plan is complete, its inventory is missing key information. Specifically, as of May 2014, the department's updated inventory provided complete information on physical servers, virtualization, and network storage, but provided incomplete information on other key elements, such as power capacity, electrical usage, and facility costs. We will continue to evaluate Commerce's progress in implementing this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The secretaries and agency heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Office of Personnel Management, the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development should direct their component agencies and their data center consolidation program managers to complete the missing elements in their respective data center consolidation inventories and plans.

    Agency Affected: Department of Commerce

  19. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Homeland Security (DH) submitted an updated consolidation plan in September 2011 and this plan discusses consolidation challenges and lessons learned. For example, the plan discusses the challenges in obtaining planned congressional funding and the immense amount of stakeholder coordination involved in consolidation. Further, the plan discusses how DH has built the collection of lessons learned into the fifth and final closeout stage of the department's documented consolidation approach.

    Recommendation: The secretaries and agency heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Office of Personnel Management, the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development should require their data center consolidation program managers to consider consolidation challenges and lessons learned when updating their consolidation plans.

    Agency Affected: Department of Homeland Security

  20. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) submitted an updated consolidation plan in September 2011, and the plan discusses both consolidation challenges and lessons learned. Specifically, the plan discusses consolidation delays due to technology and resource constraints and how EPA consulted a range of IT consolidation practitioners and experts from government and industry to identify proven practices and lessons learned.

    Recommendation: The secretaries and agency heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Office of Personnel Management, the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development should require their data center consolidation program managers to consider consolidation challenges and lessons learned when updating their consolidation plans.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  21. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) submitted an updated consolidation plan in September 2011, and the plan discusses both consolidation challenges and lessons learned. Specifically, the plan discusses changes in consolidation strategy mandated at the executive level and delays in the procurements required for consolidations. The plan also discusses the department's review of commercial and public best practices in developing VA's 2011 consolidation plan.

    Recommendation: The secretaries and agency heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Office of Personnel Management, the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development should require their data center consolidation program managers to consider consolidation challenges and lessons learned when updating their consolidation plans.

    Agency Affected: Department of Veterans Affairs

  22. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Education has taken steps to implement our recommendation. In March 2013, the Office of Management and Budget issued a memorandum that made significant changes to the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative's reporting requirements, including eliminating the requirement for agencies (including the Department of Education) to submit the previously required data center consolidation plans. However, the department has continued to consider challenges and lessons learned in executing its data center consolidation effort. Specifically, in November 2013, officials from Education's Office of the Chief Information Officer, who had responsibility for the department's data center consolidation effort, described consolidation challenges faced by the department. For example, these officials stated that, due to the significant time that has elapsed since the department started its consolidation effort in 1998, it has been difficult to identify and quantify cost savings from its data center consolidation activities. Further, officials added that the department has operated in a contactor-owned infrastructure-as-a-service model since 2007, which has also presented challenges in identifying savings. Education's data center consolidation officials also described consolidation lessons learned. Specifically, officials stated that, because Education previously consolidated its data centers and centralized information technology infrastructure, the department has focused instead on consolidating storage capabilities to its primary data center and increasing the use of virtualization technologies to reduce the overall physical footprint within outsourced facilities.

    Recommendation: The secretaries and agency heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Office of Personnel Management, the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development should require their data center consolidation program managers to consider consolidation challenges and lessons learned when updating their consolidation plans.

    Agency Affected: Department of Education

  23. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Small Business Administration (SBA) has taken steps to implement our recommendation. In March 2013, the Office of Management and Budget issued a memorandum that made significant changes to the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative's reporting requirements, including eliminating the requirement for agencies (including SBA) to submit the previously required data center consolidation plans. However, the agency has continued to consider challenges in executing its data center consolidation effort. Specifically, in November 2013, SBA officials with responsibility for the agency's data center consolidation-related efforts discussed challenges related to ensuring funding is made available for its data center consolidation efforts. In addition, the officials also described lessons learned that the agency plans to take advantage of as it moves forward with consolidation, such as reducing hosting and managed services costs where consolidation reduces major data center hosting sites or contracts and improving cyber-security, disaster recovery, and continuity of operations capabilities.

    Recommendation: The secretaries and agency heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Office of Personnel Management, the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development should require their data center consolidation program managers to consider consolidation challenges and lessons learned when updating their consolidation plans.

    Agency Affected: Small Business Administration

  24. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) agreed with, and has taken steps to implement, our recommendation. In March 2013, the Office of Management and Budget issued a memorandum that made significant changes to the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative's reporting requirements, including eliminating the requirement for agencies (including OPM) to submit the previously required data center consolidation plans. However, the agency has continued to consider challenges and lessons learned in executing its data center consolidation effort. Specifically, in November 2013, OPM officials with responsibility for the agency's data center consolidation-related efforts described challenges related to tailoring its consolidation effort to the Office of Management and Budget's guidance. For example, the officials noted that the agency only has four primary data centers and did not have plans to consolidate them, in part, because a cost-benefit analysis performed on migrating one of the agency's data centers showed that the costs outweighed the resulting savings over a 10-year period. The OPM officials also described lessons learned from their consolidation effort, including that the agency has instead focused on virtualizing its systems and moving to a public cloud infrastructure in order to reduce costs and gain efficiencies in managing its information technology infrastructure.

    Recommendation: The secretaries and agency heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Office of Personnel Management, the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development should require their data center consolidation program managers to consider consolidation challenges and lessons learned when updating their consolidation plans.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

  25. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) agreed with, and has taken steps to implement, our recommendation. In March 2013, the Office of Management and Budget issued a memorandum that made significant changes to the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative's reporting requirements, including eliminating the requirement for agencies (including NASA) to submit the previously required data center consolidation plans. However, the agency has continued to consider challenges in executing its data center consolidation effort. Specifically, in November 2013, NASA officials, including the Service Executive for Computing Services, who had responsibility for the agency's data center consolidation effort, reported that the agency had identified challenges related to identifying specific data center costs, noting that the agency's complex organizational structure which includes multiple centers with multiple missions and multiple IT contractors utilizing data centers within multipurpose facilities make efforts to determine actual cost saving and or cost avoidances extremely complex and impractical. The officials also reported that a lack of electrical metering in aging facilities makes it difficult to determine electricity usage for its data centers. In addition, the officials also identified lessons learned related to focusing on virtualization at its core data centers and reducing power consumption at several facilities. For example, they reported that NASA had achieved a 45 percent virtualization rate across 11 core data centers and that it had led to reductions in power consumption in multiple facilities.

    Recommendation: The secretaries and agency heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Office of Personnel Management, the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development should require their data center consolidation program managers to consider consolidation challenges and lessons learned when updating their consolidation plans.

    Agency Affected: National Aeronautics and Space Administration

  26. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of the Treasury has taken steps to implement our recommendation. In March 2013, the Office of Management and Budget issued a memorandum that made significant changes to the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative's reporting requirements, including eliminating the requirement for agencies (including the Treasury) to submit the previously required data center consolidation plans. However, the department has continued to consider challenges in executing its data center consolidation effort. Specifically, in December 2013, officials from Treasury's Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Information Systems and Chief Information Officer, who had responsibility for the department's data center consolidation effort, described consolidation challenges the department had identified. For example, the officials noted challenges related to identifying and tracking cost savings at the data center level, as well as both increasing demand for services and rising vendor costs serving to offset consolidation cost savings. In addition, the officials also identified lessons learned related to focusing on virtualization and cloud services, as well as a need to improve the granularity of the department's information technology infrastructure-related investments.

    Recommendation: The secretaries and agency heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Office of Personnel Management, the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development should require their data center consolidation program managers to consider consolidation challenges and lessons learned when updating their consolidation plans.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Treasury

  27. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Defense submitted an updated consolidation plan in November 2011 and this plan discusses consolidation challenges and lessons learned. For example, the plan discusses challenges such as continuing budget resolutions delaying the implementation of consolidation plans and funding, as well the required investment in labor, new and more efficient hardware, upgrades to computer facilities, and increased operating costs, associated with consolidation. The plan also discusses lessons learned, such as the value of adopting a strategy to transfer applications and infrastructure to a shared services provider. The plan also discusses the importance of establishing moratorium on the construction of new data centers and hardware acquisition, which when combined with streamlined acquisition practices, have helped rein in the growth of data centers.

    Recommendation: The secretaries and agency heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Office of Personnel Management, the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development should require their data center consolidation program managers to consider consolidation challenges and lessons learned when updating their consolidation plans.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  28. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Labor has taken steps to implement our recommendation. In March 2013, the Office of Management and Budget issued a memorandum that made significant changes to the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative's reporting requirements, including eliminating the requirement for agencies (including the Department of Labor) to submit the previously required data center consolidation plans. However, the department has continued to consider challenges in executing its data center consolidation effort. Specifically, in November 2013, officials from Labor's Office of the Chief Information Officer, who had responsibility for the department's data center consolidation effort, described consolidation challenges. For example, these officials stated that, due to Labor's historically federated information technology environment the department has faced difficulties in developing a reliable baseline of the costs of its existing information technology services from which to calculate related savings. The officials stated that the department is taking corrective action to address this issue, including developing a baseline of costs as each data center or system is consolidated and relocated to the department's enterprise data center. Other challenges cited by the officials were related to the need to update physical hardware before savings from virtualizing legacy systems can be realized, and consolidating operations and maintenance contracts. Labor's data center consolidation officials also described consolidation lessons learned. For example, the officials stated that, in May 2013 a building fire occurred at the Labor's national headquarters, which rendered several of the department's data centers housed in the building inoperable. The department subsequently moved these data centers to an outsourced data center facility, which has had several non-monetary benefits including improved disaster recovery capabilities and the ability to utilize and leverage enterprise-wide cloud computing solutions in the future. Finally, the officials also described lessons learned related to the consolidation and virtualization of servers prior to the relocation of infrastructure and the closure of data centers. As an example, the officials cited a data center that was consolidated from 43 to 27 server racks prior to its relocation resulting in a cost avoidance of approximately 37 percent of the previously planned square footage and rental space costs.

    Recommendation: The secretaries and agency heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Office of Personnel Management, the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development should require their data center consolidation program managers to consider consolidation challenges and lessons learned when updating their consolidation plans.

    Agency Affected: Department of Labor

  29. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Transportation agreed to consider, and has taken steps to implement, our recommendation. In March 2013, the Office of Management and Budget issued a memorandum that made significant changes to the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative's reporting requirements, including eliminating the requirement for agencies (including Transportation) to submit the previously required data center consolidation plans. However, the department has continued to consider challenges in executing its data center consolidation effort. Specifically, in November 2013, Transportation's Director for IT Compliance indicated that the department had identified challenges related to: budgeting for data center operations in a federated environment (because data centers were budgeted for individually); a lack of electrical metering to determine electricity usage and associated costs for data centers in multipurpose spaces; and realizing little savings from closing smaller data centers when non-data center-related equipment would remain operational. In addition, this official indicated that the department also identified lessons learned related to improving its data center inventory, and consolidating and virtualizing servers to reduce the number of physical servers and associated operating and maintenance costs. For example, Transportation reported that one organization was able to reduce its number of physical servers from 88 to 34 in fiscal year 2013.

    Recommendation: The secretaries and agency heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Office of Personnel Management, the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development should require their data center consolidation program managers to consider consolidation challenges and lessons learned when updating their consolidation plans.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  30. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of the Interior submitted an updated consolidation plan in September 2011 and this plan discusses consolidation challenges and lessons learned. For example, the plan discusses procedural and cultural challenges relating to consolidation, as well as challenges related to validating and implementing organizational change. Further, the plan discusses lessons learned about the complexities and constraints related to cross-component hosting and migration, data center cost drivers and limitations of legacy accounting systems and processes, and aligning infrastructure refresh with consolidation needs at the component organization level.

    Recommendation: The secretaries and agency heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Office of Personnel Management, the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development should require their data center consolidation program managers to consider consolidation challenges and lessons learned when updating their consolidation plans.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

  31. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of State submitted an updated consolidation plan in September 2011 and this plan discusses consolidation challenges and lessons learned. For example, the plan discusses a primary consolidation challenge of balancing resources between equipment operation and consolidation and the relationship of this issue to securing and prioritizing funding. The plan also discusses lessons learned related to customer outreach and focusing on data center-by-data center closure.

    Recommendation: The secretaries and agency heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Office of Personnel Management, the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development should require their data center consolidation program managers to consider consolidation challenges and lessons learned when updating their consolidation plans.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

  32. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) submitted an updated consolidation plan in September 2011 and this plan discusses consolidation challenges and lessons learned. For example, the plan discusses the difficulty with projecting electricity cost savings because of the very small percentage of HHS data centers that are currently metered to measure electricity usage and that this number was insufficient for projecting corresponding cost savings with any degree of confidence. Further, the plan notes that the department has evaluated lessons learned from the implementation of previous consolidations and incorporated that evaluation into a model to calculate the projected cost benefits to be achieved from consolidating HHS data centers.

    Recommendation: The secretaries and agency heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Office of Personnel Management, the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development should require their data center consolidation program managers to consider consolidation challenges and lessons learned when updating their consolidation plans.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services

  33. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) agreed with, and has taken steps to implement, our recommendation. In March 2013, the Office of Management and Budget issued a memorandum that made significant changes to the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative's reporting requirements, including eliminating the requirement for agencies (including USAID) to submit the previously required data center consolidation plans. However, the agency has continued to consider challenges in executing its data center consolidation effort. Specifically, in November 2013, USAID officials with responsibility for the agency's data center consolidation-related efforts described challenges related to achieving cost savings as the consolidation costs required to upgrade services and infrastructure have exceeded the savings achieved to date. In addition, the officials also identified lessons learned related to focusing on virtualization to increase system availability and also to reduce future cost growth.

    Recommendation: The secretaries and agency heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Office of Personnel Management, the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development should require their data center consolidation program managers to consider consolidation challenges and lessons learned when updating their consolidation plans.

    Agency Affected: United States Agency for International Development

  34. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Social Security Administration (SSA) has taken steps to implement our recommendation. In March 2013, the Office of Management and Budget issued a memorandum that made significant changes to the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative's reporting requirements, including eliminating the requirement for agencies (including SSA) to submit the previously required data center consolidation plans. However, the agency has continued to consider challenges in executing its data center consolidation effort. Specifically, in November 2013, SSA officials with responsibility for the agency's data center consolidation-related efforts discussed challenges related to measuring actual electrical usage in multipurpose facilities, such as their National Computer Center. They noted that the lack of metering has made it difficult for the agency to calculate possible savings related to reduced electricity usage resulting from the agency's virtualization efforts. In addition, the officials also described lessons learned related to the agency's focus on virtualization and the resulting reduction of hardware and software maintenance.

    Recommendation: The secretaries and agency heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Office of Personnel Management, the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development should require their data center consolidation program managers to consider consolidation challenges and lessons learned when updating their consolidation plans.

    Agency Affected: Social Security Administration

  35. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The General Services Administration (GSA) submitted an updated consolidation plan in September 2011, and the plan discusses both consolidation challenges and lessons learned. Specifically, the plan discusses such construction challenges as vendors not meeting schedules, non-responsive vendors, and IT equipment delivery delays. The plan also describes how lessons learned from data center organization allowed GSA to realize greater space and energy efficiencies.

    Recommendation: The secretaries and agency heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Office of Personnel Management, the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development should require their data center consolidation program managers to consider consolidation challenges and lessons learned when updating their consolidation plans.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  36. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Commerce submitted an updated consolidation plan in September 2011 and this plan discusses consolidation challenges, as well as lessons learned. For example, the plan discusses challenges such as providing complete inventory information and deploying shared services, and also discusses the accompanying lessons learned of the need for full power metering and the importance of reviewing inventory data, as well as fully defining and understanding shared services requirements.

    Recommendation: The secretaries and agency heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Office of Personnel Management, the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development should require their data center consolidation program managers to consider consolidation challenges and lessons learned when updating their consolidation plans.

    Agency Affected: Department of Commerce

  37. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) submitted an updated consolidation plan in September 2011, and the plan discusses both consolidation challenges and lessons learned. Specifically, the plan discusses challenges related to budgeting, resources, and managing the level of coordination required given the number of internal and external entities involved in facilities, data center, and IT planning. The plan also states that NRC uses lessons learned and best practices from states and other Federal agencies, as well as private industry.

    Recommendation: The secretaries and agency heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Office of Personnel Management, the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development should require their data center consolidation program managers to consider consolidation challenges and lessons learned when updating their consolidation plans.

    Agency Affected: Nuclear Regulatory Commission

  38. Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of State agreed with, and has taken initial steps to implement, our recommendation; however, additional actions are needed. In March 2013, the Office of Management and Budget issued a memorandum that made significant changes to the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative's reporting requirements, including eliminating the requirement for agencies (including State) to submit the previously required data center consolidation plans. However, the memorandum stated that agencies were still required update their data center inventories yearly. As of May 2014, State's updated inventory provides complete information for virtualization, but provides incomplete information on other key elements, such as information related to server rack counts, power metering, electricity usage, data storage capacity, and staffing information. We will continue to evaluate the department's progress in implementing this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The secretaries and agency heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Office of Personnel Management, the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development should direct their component agencies and their data center consolidation program managers to complete the missing elements in their respective data center consolidation inventories and plans.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

  39. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has taken steps to implement our recommendation. In March 2013, the Office of Management and Budget issued a memorandum that made significant changes to the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative's reporting requirements, including eliminating the requirement for agencies (including NRC) to submit the previously required data center consolidation plans. However, the memorandum stated that agencies were still required to update their data center inventories yearly. As of May 2014, NRC's updated inventory addressed previously missing elements, such as data center-related staffing information.

    Recommendation: The secretaries and agency heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Office of Personnel Management, the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development should direct their component agencies and their data center consolidation program managers to complete the missing elements in their respective data center consolidation inventories and plans.

    Agency Affected: Nuclear Regulatory Commission

  40. Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Labor has taken initial steps to implement our recommendation, but additional actions are needed. In March 2013, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a memorandum that made significant changes to the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative's reporting requirements, including eliminating the requirement for agencies (including the Department of Labor) to submit the previously required data center consolidation plans. However, the memorandum stated that agencies were still required update their data center inventories yearly. As of May 2014, the Department of Labor's updated inventory provided complete information on physical servers, virtualization, and network storage, but provided incomplete information on other key elements, such as power capacity and facility staffing. We will continue to evaluate the department's progress in implementing this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The secretaries and agency heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Office of Personnel Management, the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development should direct their component agencies and their data center consolidation program managers to complete the missing elements in their respective data center consolidation inventories and plans.

    Agency Affected: Department of Labor

  41. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Small Business Administration (SBA) agreed with, and has taken initial steps to implement, our recommendation; however, additional actions are needed. In March 2013, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a memorandum that made significant changes to the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative's reporting requirements, including eliminating the requirement for agencies (including SBA) to submit the previously required data center consolidation plans. However, the memorandum stated that agencies were still required to update their data center inventories yearly. As of May 2014, SBA's updated inventory provided complete information on physical servers, virtualization, and network storage, and substantially complete information for other previously incomplete key elements, such as data center power capacity, electricity usage, and facility staffing.

    Recommendation: The secretaries and agency heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Office of Personnel Management, the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development should direct their component agencies and their data center consolidation program managers to complete the missing elements in their respective data center consolidation inventories and plans.

    Agency Affected: Small Business Administration

  42. Status: Open

    Comments: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has taken initial steps to implement our recommendation, but additional actions are needed. In March 2013, the Office of Management and Budget issued a memorandum that made significant changes to the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative's reporting requirements, including eliminating the requirement for agencies (including EPA) to submit the previously required data center consolidation plans. However, the memorandum stated that agencies were still required to update their data center inventories yearly. As of May 2014, EPA's updated inventory provided complete information on physical servers, virtualization, and network storage, but provided incomplete information on other key elements, such as data center power capacity, electricity usage, and facility staffing. We will continue to evaluate the agency's progress in implementing this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The secretaries and agency heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Office of Personnel Management, the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development should direct their component agencies and their data center consolidation program managers to complete the missing elements in their respective data center consolidation inventories and plans.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  43. Status: Open

    Comments: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) agreed with, and has taken initial steps to implement, our recommendation; however, additional actions are needed. In March 2013, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a memorandum that made significant changes to the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative's reporting requirements, including eliminating the requirement for agencies (including NASA) to submit the previously required data center consolidation plans. However, the memorandum stated that agencies were still required to update their data center inventories yearly. As of May 2014, NASA's updated inventory provided complete information on physical servers, virtualization, and network storage, but provided incomplete information on other key elements, such as data center power capacity, electricity usage, and facility staffing costs. We will continue to evaluate NASA's progress in implementing this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The secretaries and agency heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Office of Personnel Management, the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development should direct their component agencies and their data center consolidation program managers to complete the missing elements in their respective data center consolidation inventories and plans.

    Agency Affected: National Aeronautics and Space Administration

  44. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Transportation agreed to consider, and has taken steps to implement, our recommendation. In March 2013, the Office of Management and Budget issued a memorandum that made significant changes to the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative's reporting requirements, including eliminating the requirement for agencies (including Transportation) to submit the previously required data center consolidation plans. However, the memorandum stated that agencies were still required update their data center inventories yearly. As of May 2014, Transportation's updated inventory substantially addressed previously missing elements, such as information related to power capacity, electricity usage, and electricity costs.

    Recommendation: The secretaries and agency heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Office of Personnel Management, the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development should direct their component agencies and their data center consolidation program managers to complete the missing elements in their respective data center consolidation inventories and plans.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  45. Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) agreed with, and has taken initial steps to implement, our recommendation. In March 2013, the Office of Management and Budget issued a memorandum that made significant changes to the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative's reporting requirements, including eliminating the requirement for agencies (including VA) to submit the previously required data center consolidation plans. However, the memorandum stated that agencies were still required update their data center inventories yearly. In June 2013, we evaluated the VA's updated inventory and found that it provided complete information on physical servers, virtualization, and network storage, but only partial information on other key elements such as electricity usage and facility staffing. As of August 2014, the department had not provided a more recent data center inventory from which we could evaluate progress towards addressing this recommendation. We will continue to evaluate the department's progress in implementing this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The secretaries and agency heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Office of Personnel Management, the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development should direct their component agencies and their data center consolidation program managers to complete the missing elements in their respective data center consolidation inventories and plans.

    Agency Affected: Department of Veterans Affairs

  46. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Defense has taken steps to implement our recommendation. In March 2013, the Office of Management and Budget issued a memorandum that made significant changes to the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative's reporting requirements, including eliminating the requirement for agencies (including the Department of Defense) to submit the previously required data center consolidation plans. However, the memorandum stated that agencies were still required update their data center inventories yearly. As of May 2014, the Department of Defense's updated inventory addressed previously missing elements, such as information related to physical servers, virtualization, and network storage.

    Recommendation: The secretaries and agency heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Office of Personnel Management, the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development should direct their component agencies and their data center consolidation program managers to complete the missing elements in their respective data center consolidation inventories and plans.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  47. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Justice submitted an updated consolidation plan in September 2011 and this plan discusses consolidation challenges and lessons learned. For example, the plan discusses funding challenges, the need to implement change to efficiently address consolidation, and the challenges of consolidating in a federated organization. Further, the plan addresses the department's interaction with other government and commercial organizations to build knowledge and leverage consolidation lessons learned.

    Recommendation: The secretaries and agency heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Office of Personnel Management, the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development should require their data center consolidation program managers to consider consolidation challenges and lessons learned when updating their consolidation plans.

    Agency Affected: Department of Justice

  48. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Agriculture agreed with, and has taken steps to implement, our recommendation. In March 2013, the Office of Management and Budget issued a memorandum that made significant changes to the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative's reporting requirements, including eliminating the requirement for agencies (including Agriculture) to submit the previously required data center consolidation plans. However, the department has continued to consider challenges and lessons learned in executing its data center consolidation effort. Specifically, in November 2013, Agriculture's Acting Associate Chief Information Officer (CIO) for Data Center Operations described the department's consolidation challenges. For example, the official noted that department has faced difficulties in gathering information technology-related cost data (e.g., building rent, utilities, and salaries) from component agencies in order to calculate cost savings and avoidances. To overcome this challenge, the official stated that the department has relied on industry best practices to estimate these costs. The official further noted that the department has faced challenges in overcoming resistance to change from its component agency CIOs and in getting staff accustomed to cloud computing. Agriculture's Acting Associate CIO also described the department's efforts to leverage lessons learned in the implementation of best practices to support data center migration projects. For example, the official stated that the department procured and employed a "mobile data center," which has allowed Agriculture's Data Center Consolidation Program Office to expedite the process of virtualizing applications and closing data centers. In addition, the official added that the department developed a set of tools to identify network, server, and storage utilization statistics, and formed a full-time team from a broad mix of IT backgrounds whose sole functions are to migrate and close data centers.

    Recommendation: The secretaries and agency heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Office of Personnel Management, the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development should require their data center consolidation program managers to consider consolidation challenges and lessons learned when updating their consolidation plans.

    Agency Affected: Department of Agriculture

  49. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The National Science Foundation (NSF) has taken steps to implement our recommendation. In March 2013, the Office of Management and Budget issued a memorandum that made significant changes to the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative's reporting requirements, including eliminating the requirement for agencies (including NSF) to submit the previously required data center consolidation plans. However, the agency has continued to consider challenges in executing its data center consolidation effort. Specifically, in November 2013, officials from NSF's Office of Information and Resource Management/Division of Information Systems, who had responsibility for the department's data center consolidation effort, described consolidation challenges related to ensuring funding is available for its data center consolidation efforts and measuring actual electrical usage in multipurpose facilities. In addition, the officials also identified lessons learned related to focusing on virtualization to reduce the number of servers and power consumption. They also noted that the reduction in the number of servers resulted in reduced labor required to support the servers, less funding needed for hardware maintenance renewals, and lower costs to implement future hardware upgrades.

    Recommendation: The secretaries and agency heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Office of Personnel Management, the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development should require their data center consolidation program managers to consider consolidation challenges and lessons learned when updating their consolidation plans.

    Agency Affected: National Science Foundation

  50. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Energy submitted an updated consolidation plan in September 2011 and this plan discusses consolidation challenges and lessons learned. For example, the plan discusses the need for significant upfront investment to implement consolidation, which can be difficult as budgets continue to be reduced. Further, the plan discusses consolidation lessons learned, such as the need to assign a certified Data Center Energy Practitioner to each facility who is responsible for the accuracy of data calls and tracking and reporting on consolidation activities. The plan also discusses the establishment of a data center dashboard system to address conflicting interpretation of data call criteria. This dashboard allows the department to report consistent metrics, project status and other data without maintaining multiple data sources.

    Recommendation: The secretaries and agency heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Office of Personnel Management, the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development should require their data center consolidation program managers to consider consolidation challenges and lessons learned when updating their consolidation plans.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

 

Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Sep 25, 2014

Sep 23, 2014

Jun 10, 2014

May 22, 2014

May 12, 2014

May 8, 2014

May 7, 2014

Apr 2, 2014

Looking for more? Browse all our products here