Vertiv aims to “tell the truth” about Federal data center modernization via a new white paper posted on Data Center Frontier.
A larger conversation around this topic got a spur of energy as the Obama administration launched the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative (FDCCI) in 2010 as part of a plan to push the federal government to modernize its aging data centers, IT systems and cyber practices, which still largely lag behind the private sector.
Then in 2019, the Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI) was introduced, which “further prioritized the modernization of aging government data centers,” according to the report.
It’s not news to those in the data industry the Federal government has lagged behind the private sector in terms of adoption of IT innovations for a while now. And the problem simply gets worse with every new generation of data centers and IT systems.
“The FDCCI and DCOI were intended to address those issues and, if not, put the government on equal footing with the rest of us, at least force it to close the gap. It was an important step in the right direction, and some agencies have reduced costs and streamlined operations by implementing cloud-based and hybrid environments.
Fast forward to the Trump administration of today. According to the report, the new administration worked to maintain the focus on modernization by improving federal computing facilities with the introduction of the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF). This was a 2018 budget initiative designed to move forward modernization efforts across the entire government.
Although all of these efforts and more have improved the overall state of federal IT systems, Vertiv warns any objective analysis “will show progress remains slow and legacy systems largely entrenched.”
Although the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), in the budget request for the TMF, reported that from fiscal year 2015 to fiscal year 2018, legacy spending across the government as a percentage of total IT spending actually rose from 68 percent to 70.3 percent, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) found this past spring that showed progress was, “at best, mixed.”
There are many reasons why modernization efforts within the U.S. government IT departments have stalled, or perhaps not even got off the ground, the new Vertiv report points out. Through the company’s work with federal government data center professionals, Vertiv has identified have identified four perceived reasons why so many modernization projects can’t seem to gain traction.
That said, “Use of the word “perceived” here is intentional and important to note, it says. “In reality, these perceptions are largely inaccurate,” the report states.
- Modernization is difficult.
- Modernization is expensive
- Legacy systems work
- No market motivation
According to report, despite their perceived shortcomings, the government continues to prioritize data center modernization, but progress remains “slow and pocketed.”
The case for modernization can be summarized in three key points, outlined fully in the report:
- Total cost of ownership
- Benefits of modularity
- Keeping pace with the rest of the world
Vertiv contends despite the slow and often uneven progress toward modernization, realizing the performance, security and savings goals that have been set in the government IT space is possible.
Download the full report, “Exploring the Progress of Federal Data Center Modernization,” courtesy of Vertiv, to learn more about the important work of bringing the U.S. federal government IT fully into the 21st century.