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Expect FITARA Extensions in 2018 NDAA

Posted by RJ Tee on Jul 26, 2017 8:11:00 AM

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Earlier this year there were many questions in the data center industry about what would happen to the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA), a 2015 law that is set to expire in 2018 and 2019.

It’s taken a few months, but now we’re starting to see some answers. Just recently, news broke that there is a new version of FITARA being proposed in the House version of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act. So FITARA does not appear to be going away anytime soon.

According to CyberScoop, the new version of FITARA contains bipartisan support and would extend three of the original law’s provisions: Regular IT program, portfolio, and resource reviews, greater transparency and risk management and further data center consolidation.

Learn more about the steps that can be taken to bring a US Federal or Military data center into compliance with the latest directives from the Executive branch regarding data center optimization and consolidation in our white paper: "The Data Center Optimization Initiative and You."

“Very simply, the federal data center problem is bigger than we initially thought,” stated Gerry Connolly, D-Va., who co-sponsored the amendment. “In 2009, the government estimated it had roughly 1,100 data centers. In reality, by 2015 we found we had more than 11,700. We are potentially leaving money on the table when it comes to data center consolidation if we allow FITARA’s data center reporting and planning requirements to expire in 2018.”

For federal data center administrators, one of the most important parts of FITARA will be the section about the need for greater transparency and risk management services. The only way for the federal government to actually achieve its cost and operational goals with FITARA will be to invest in real-time data center power monitoring and managing solutions.

To learn more about Server Technology’s TAA-compliant government solutions, click here

Topics: government data center, government consolidation, fitara

FITARA - Data Center Consolidation Deadline Could Be Pushed Back

Posted by RJ Tee on Apr 3, 2017 11:11:30 AM

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Since 2014, federal data centers have been optimizing their facilities under the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA), a money-saving initiative imposed by the federal government that will force certain data centers to close by 2018.

As of right now, the project is moving much too slow. According to MeriTalk, the most recent FITARA scorecard — released on Dec. 6 — shows that federal data centers are far behind where they need to be in their optimization efforts.

How poorly is the project progressing? Twelve out of 24 graded scores generated a C or worse for their efforts. At this pace, it’s unlikely that the majority will meet their goals by 2018.

Fortunately, Uncle Sam is feeling a bit generous right now and may extend the deadline beyond 2018. But he’s not happy about it.

Director of IT issues for the Government Accountability Office Dave Powner recently sounded off about the pace of the project.

 “2018 probably isn’t enough time to get this done. A key recommendation moving forward is extending the sunset provision in FITARA,” Powner stated. “The question is how long to extend it. If an agency really can’t optimize by 2020, should they be in the business of managing a data center? They need to ask themselves that. If agencies can’t operate these things, they need to think long and hard about getting out of the business.”

So, why are federal agencies having such a hard time consolidating their facilities? According to Powner, a major reason is that only a few agencies have tools for server utilization. Right now, there are 4,400 remaining data centers and just 1200 have server utilization tools.

Server Technology is an obvious choice for federal data centers in need of energy utilization tools.

First and foremost, Server Technology’s products are Trade Agreements Act (TAA) compliant, meaning they are made here in the U.S. So federal agencies will have no problem in using Server Technology as a vendor. And plus, since products are made domestically Server Technology can offer fast shipment times for products and accessories. Most products ship between three and 10 days.

The products that can help federal data centers the most are Server Technology’s Web-based power management console, the Sentry Power Manager (SPM), as well as Server Technology’s intelligent power distribution units (PDUs). Federal data center administrators can use these products to gain a clear understanding of power usage and server utilization at the cabinet, zone and location levels.

It should also be noted that Server Technology offers a wide range of products under the umbrella of intelligent PDUs. There is even a “Build Your Own PDU” feature, for custom builds with up to 42 C13 outlets.

To learn more about how Server Technology’s power management solutions for government agencies, click here.

Topics: federal government, government data center, fitara

Federal Data Centers: Use Switched POPS PDUs to Save Money

Posted by RJ Tee on Mar 6, 2017 10:50:20 AM

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A new bill is being considered in Washington, D.C. that would directly impact federal data centers.

According to The Stack, the U.S. House of Representatives recently passed the Energy Efficient Government Technology Act (HR 306), which would require every federal agency to provide a detailed report outlining the exact steps that are being taken to improve energy efficiency in their data center and computing environments. 

These reports would then be compiled by the Secretary and Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as part of a larger report on the overall impact of cloud computing and virtualization, mobile devices, social media and data center power consumption among federal agencies. This report would include previous energy usage projections from between 2008 and 2015.

“As the nation’s largest energy user, landowner, and employer, the federal government should lead by example to improve the energy efficiency of its technology equipment and data centres,” stated representative Anna Eschoo (D-CA), who co-sponsored the bill along with Adam Kinzinger (R-IL). “This legislation will reduce the federal government’s energy use, save taxpayer dollars, and set the standard for the private sector.”

As of right now, the bill is waiting for a Senate vote and so it remains to be seen how it will play out. The fact that it’s a bipartisan bill, however, shows just how important the issue is to the federal government; Even in these trying political times, House Democrats and Republicans are working together to drive energy reform, in hopes of reducing unnecessary computing expenses and energy waste by federal entities.

Regardless of whether the new bill gets signed into law, federal data center administrators still have two other acts to consider: the Federal Data Center Consolidation Act (which has saved almost $3 billion to date) and the Data Center Optimization Initiative. So pressure is coming from all sides to streamline operations and pinch pennies. Over the next several years, the federal government hopes to consolidate or close many of its data centers.

Immediate action should therefore be taken by federal IT administrators to reduce unnecessary energy waste. Being proactive now may either delay, or prevent, the closing of a federal data center. Now is not the time to sit back and try to fly under the radar, but to take action.

Server Technology offers multiple solutions that federal data centers can use to reduce energy waste, like Switched Per Outlet Power Sensing power distribution units (Switched POPS PDUs), with highly accurate outlet-level power monitoring and management features.

Server Technology's PDU's are TAA compliant, and have been used by numerous federal agencies including the U.S. Air Force, Coast Guard, Department of Energy, NASA, ARMY, NAVY and the National Institutes of Health.

 

Discover Server Technology's Switched POPS PDUs

Topics: green data center, federal government, government data center, Switched POPS

Federal Data Centers: Use Switched POPS PDUs To Slash Power Costs

Posted by RJ Tee on Jan 27, 2017 9:32:50 AM

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While the private sector is experiencing unprecedented data center growth, the exact opposite is happening in the public sector. Even though the federal government is using just as much data and technology as any other entity, the marching order for federal data center operators is reduce, reduce, reduce.

Over the last several years, the U.S. government — led by the White House and the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) — have cracked down significantly on federal data center spending. Under the Data Center Optimization Initiative, and the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative (FDCCI), federal agencies must actively strive to close extraneous data center facilities. At least 52 percent must go by the end of 2018. And facilities that do remain in operation must reduce costs, and support eco-friendly practices. 

“The Data Center Optimization Initiative, released [Aug. 1st, 2016], continues and builds upon the progress of FDDCI and ensures robust implementation of the data center provisions of the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA),” stated federal Chief Information Officer Tony Scott in a blog post. “The initiative requires agencies to implement strategies to consolidate inefficient infrastructure, optimize existing facilities, improve security posture, achieve cost savings, and transition to more efficient infrastructure, such as cloud services and interagency shared services.”

Now, everyone is wondering whether this plan will continue under the Trump administration. As of right now, it’s unclear how the president elect’s administration will handle federal IT spending, but so far there is no indication that these initiatives will be repealed — especially under Republican control where spending is liable to be limited. So the pressure is still on for federal data center operators to press forward and continue optimizing throughout 2017. In many ways, this is a critical year.

On one hand, it’s hard to argue against the initiative from a managerial perspective. In fact, it’s been quite successful. Since the launch of the FDCCI, federal agencies have closed 1,900 data centers, and reduced the total real estate footprint for federal data centers by 1.2 million square feet — resulting in a total cost savings of nearly $1 billion.

On the other hand, it’s creating some problems — particularly for agencies who need their data centers, and for employees who need their jobs.

Your main priority right now as a federal IT administrator should be to get a handle on your monthly data center spend, so that you can keep your facility up and running. If you fail to do so, it could mean the end of your department —and you and your colleagues could either be re-assigned, or put out of work. What’s more, your agency’s data center may either be outsourced or consolidated which will directly impact daily operations.

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Server Technology to the Rescue

Here’s how Server Technology can help: 

Server Technology offers intelligent Per Outlet Power Sensing (POPS) Switched PDUs, that can be instrumental in your efforts to streamline data center power management — which is traditionally one of the most problematic data center expenses. Server Technology’s Switched POPS PDUs offer highly-accurate, outlet-level power monitoring for unparalleled visibility and control over rack-level power consumption. With this product, you can stop guessing and start making decisions based on hard metrics. 

That’s’ because Switched POPS PDUs will allow you to see exactly how much power you are using at the rack level in real-time, by providing a detailed glimpse into metrics such as voltage, active power, apparent power, crest factor, power factor and power consumption (measured in W-hours). And their embedded switching function makes it possible to perform remote power management tasks anyplace you have web access. This line of intelligent PDUs also comes with optional temperature and humidity probes for advanced environmental monitoring. With this feature, you can consolidate workloads and increase rack densities safely and efficiently. Switched POPS PDUs come with SNMP trap email alerts, for automated warnings about real-time environmental conditions in your data center.

Server Technology: Working For America’s Biggest Government Agencies 
Rest assured, your agency won’t be the only department working with Server Technology. Server Technology, based out of Reno, Nevada, provides rack power distribution units for a variety of government customers including: 
• Air Force 
• Coast Guard 
• NAVY
• ARMY 
• Department of Energy 
• NASA 
• National Institutes of Health

Server Technology’s PDUs are manufactured in TAA-compliant locations. And since they are produced and stocked here in the U.S.A., they are able to ship faster – meaning you can count on Server Technology for speedy and reliable deliveries.

So don’t wait to take action. For more information about how your data center can leverage Switched POPS PDUs, call 703-295-2059 or email [email protected].

 

Learn More About Our Government Solutions

Topics: power costs, government data center, Switched PDU, POPs, HDOT Switched POPS

Innovative Solutions For Government Clients: Part 2

Posted by RJ Tee on Jan 23, 2017 11:30:00 AM

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In Part 1, we explained how the federal government is improving data center efficiency, lowering overall energy costs and optimizing their data center environments. In our next segment, we will dive deeper into solutions that can help meet those critical needs.

Federal Sales Manager Jason Mollicone discusses how Server Technology’s expertise with intelligent PDUs positions the company to best provide solutions to the power challenges faced by the federal government. He says the need for remote monitoring and management has become a priority over the past couple of years.

“We’re really starting to see those conversations come up in the federal space,” he says, explaining that Server Technology’s intelligent rack power solutions – from our Smart rack PDUs to our Switched PDUs - can help clients drill down to the outlet level, if needed, to see individual IT device power consumption and trends while allowing all necessary data points to be collected.

“Also, you have remote access into your PDUs, so if something needs to be turned off or rebooted remotely, you can do so very quickly,” he says. “In addition, from a security perspective, you can lock individual outlets to ensure proper access is granted prior to plugging in additional devices.”

On the Front Lines of Power Trends

A big buzzword in not only the government space, but with all data centers – is efficiency. Mollicone says one of Server Technology’s efficient solutions, Alt-Phase technology, can greatly enhance efficiency in three phase power applications. Alt Phase technology allows customers to easily balance loads by cording outlet by outlet instead of bank by bank, as you do in a traditional 3 phase rack PDU. This improves operational efficiency by allowing the customer to properly utilize available power in each rack, while improving air flow. In addition, it keeps phases well balanced, which increases power efficiency and lowers overall costs. 

The Impact of DCOI

With the institution of the Federal government’s Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI), which requires agencies to optimize their existing infrastructure and report on their efforts to do so, Mollicone says the pace of finding more efficient solutions for government clients has quickened.

“These data centers are very expensive to operate and maintain,” he says. “So, the more we can do to help lower costs, while providing the right solution, the better.”

Server Technology’s solutions for our federal clients also include the ability to provide more outlets per rack, which is found in our High Density Outlet Technology (HDOT) PDUs. The reason this is crucial, Mollicone says, is because the government’s recent consolidation efforts means we’re seeing rack densities increase.

“Equipment that may traditionally require three or four rack PDUs can now be implemented in two rack PDUs,” he says. “The more outlets we can put into one rack PDU means fewer PDUs are needed overall, resulting in less total hardware, lower costs and cleaner airflow, all while minimizing deployment time. That’s a good thing because it means there is less to manage and speaks very well to the goals of DCOI.”

Ultimately, it comes down to serving the client’s needs and developing innovative solutions to meet – and exceed – their expectations, a value Server Technology was founded on.

“If you can understand their challenges and have a solution that touches on all those points, there’s nothing more powerful,” he says.

Topics: data center power, efficiency, government data center

Streamlining Data Center Power Efficiency in the Government Sector

Posted by Erik Stabile on Feb 3, 2016 11:53:24 AM

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Image: Datacenter Work

Ensuring your data center is fully optimized so that it can remain cost- and energy-efficient as well as highly secure, is important for any industry. For the government, however, meeting these objectives is absolutely mandatory as the sensitive data at stake is critical to national and local security, and the costs of mismanagement directly affects taxpayers.

Today, many options exist to help data center managers elevate the performance of their sites. For instance, employing advanced rack-level technology, which enables network administrators to measure and monitor power consumption, can help prevent power outages by alerting staff to such issues as overheated servers. What’s more, measuring and monitoring power enables network administrators in the government sector to stay within budget by eliminating wasteful energy consumption.

In addition, reporting on data center metrics is essential to maintaining a truly successful operation. With a PDU that includes advanced reporting features, network administrators will have metrics in hand to analyze expenses and security vulnerabilities, enabling them to create a more efficient data center environment.

Here are some specific technology solutions for data center professionals within the government sector to consider when looking to streamline operations for optimal performance:

  • All-in-one PDU: Server Technology’s all-in-one PDU includes all its flagship offerings, such as HDOT-Switched on the PRO 2 platform and alternating phase outlets. This technology solution enables government data centers to gain a complete view of power usage effectiveness as well as load balancing to increase efficiency.
  • Joint Interoperability Test Command (JITC)-certified PDU: This solution from Server Technology is specifically designed for the unique requirements of government data centers. Click here to read more about government-specific solutions from Server Technology.

Don’t let tax dollars go to waste using inefficient data center technology. Implement sound, best-in-class power monitoring and measuring solutions to ensure your data center remains secure, as well as both energy- and cost-efficient.

Topics: efficiency, government data center