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Posted Jan 17th, 2012

Federal Data Center Efficiency: Barriers and Best Practices

By Brocade and 1105 Media, The Stand

Anthony Robbins
Vice President, Federal Sales, Brocade

Agency data centers are the biggest cost in government IT but given the explosive growth in data that needs to be managed and the ever-increasing demands for IT services, they are also the most important assets. Getting more out of their data centers in the most cost-effective way is a priority for agencies. An industry veteran explains what they need to do for that, and what potential roadblocks they should look out for.

on 1:  What is data center efficiency? Is there a single definition that people can use, or is it a flexible term whose definition is governed more by organization-specific needs?

It’s a very flexible term, and at the moment it probably means more in the commercial space than in the government marketplace.

It originally started out several years ago as a way to describe the efficient use of power and cooling, and there was a lot of talk about going green and paying attention to how much energy was consumed. Then virtualization took hold and all of a sudden there were assessments around the utilization rates of IT assets, particularly those of servers in the data center. And, today, it’s been expanded even further to also cover such things as storage and networks.

The problem in government is that there’s no one person who owns the budget for all of the components involved in data center efficiency. In large commercial concerns you can find one person responsible for the spend on facilities, cooling, power, IT assets and so on, and it’s therefore relatively easy to implement change. In government, the responsibility is very diversified. The CIO may own the IT assets, for example, but not the facilities or the cooling and power.

In government, the challenge comes with bringing all of this together at the highest level.

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