EIU: Efficient Infrastructure Utilization Analysis

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Background: In February of 2010, the Chief Information Officer for the U.S. Government, Vivek Kundra, outlined details of an ambitious initiative in a memo to the CIOs of all Federal agencies. The CIO’s memo summarized how, over the past decade, the dramatic investment growth in redundant data center infrastructure had become costly, inefficient and unsustainable. Consequently, this growth has significantly impacted overall energy consumption. The memo then went on to direct the agencies to prepare an inventory of their IT assets and develop a data center consolidation plan. The plans are to be completed by December of 2010, with implementation beginning in 2011.

The Goals. The “Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative” stakes out four main objectives. They are to:

  • Promote the use of Green IT by reducing the overall energy & real estate
    footprint of Federal data centers;
  • Reduce the cost of data center hardware, software and operations;
  • Increase the overall IT security posture of the government; and
  • Shift IT investments to more efficient computing platforms and
    technologies.

The Impact. The CIO has indicated that the Federal government is looking for “game-changing approaches” to deal with the growth in data centers rather than “brute force consolidation.” Some analysts suspect that, from the assessments, a meaningful chunk of government IT operations may be shifted to a cloud computing model. The drive for greater efficiency may also render many of today’s current federal data centers obsolete, in that they may not have the power or cooling capacities to support a highly-utilized equipment space. The consolidation effort will also likely impact server environments, as hardware refreshes will look to take advantage of the latest advances in computing power and energy efficiency.

TSS Solution. The Consolidation Initiative is aimed at addressing the challenges by leveraging best practices that are currently employed in both the public and private sector. TSS helped Federal agencies address this time-sensitive mandate. The program, known as “Efficient Infrastructure Utilization (MORE THAN JUST GREEN IT)” applies these data center best practices, helping ensure that the customer’s IT- and Facility-Driven decisions are founded on a solid footing of technical, engineering and financial efficiency.

The Efficient Infrastructure Utilization program (EIU) aims to satisfy the four main objectives:

  • Footprint Control. Increasingly, federal organizations are turning to virtualization and consolidation, seeking to reduce their server footprint and increase the efficiency of IT operations. Virtualization merges application workloads onto fewer servers and storage devices. Reducing the server count accommodates the same IT workload while saving valuable floor space and condensing the space previously allocated for the power and cooling infrastructure needed to support the server equipment. Combining multiple data centers into a consolidated facility can also produce strong efficiencies in space utilization.
  • Cost Control. A virtual infrastructure can provide tangible and quantifiable cost savings from the data center to the desktop, reducing both capital and operational expenses. Fewer physical servers leads to reductions in both power and cooling costs, while it also yields savings on server hardware and maintenance. In addition, employing modern data center management techniques in a consolidated facility can also create economies of scale that reduce the overall cost of facility operations.
    Reliability/Security Improvement. By incorporating improved data center Tier design considerations, our clients minimize many of the fundamental risks associated with downtime, outages and failures. When such facility improvements are balanced with the failover capabilities inherent in virtual server environments, clients can eliminate planned downtime and recover immediately from unplanned issues.
  • Operational Efficiency. We’ll explore options for implementing dynamic resource management, faster server provisioning and improved application deployment. We also plan for a right-sized data center environment that is scalable and can meet the performance expectations of its users.
    By addressing each objective to balance the elements of both Facility and IT Architecture concerns, the team ensures that our agency customers will fully comply with the mandates of the Federal Consolidation Initiative.

Our Service Approach

The TSS team assists clients in aligning their IT architecture & data center requirements by assessing long-term environmental options. Our Efficient Infrastructure Utilization (EIU) program provides a comparative assessment of prospective Data Center consolidation solutions from a technical, financial & operational perspective.

  • Assess the Current State. The team documents and defines the current IT & Facility Environments through staff interviews, equipment inventories and a thorough Complexity Analysis.
  • Define the Options. Determining the most reasonable options for continued assessment is important. Examples include: Expanding one of the current Data Centers; Constructing a new site; or Hosting/cloud solutions. These solution types are reviewed in light of varying degrees of IT virtualization and its impact on the ultimate footprint and infrastructure.
  • Prepare IT Reference Architectures. The team considers IT solutions that are client-customized and forecasts their impact on the current environment state (Operations; Bandwidth; Migration Costs; DR; Business Drivers). Using these projections, a set of diagrams plus equipment counts are developed, including anticipated processing needs, storage and network fabric.
  • Convert to Facility Requirements. IT Architecture equipment requirements then generate a facility Basis of Design, defining capacity requirements for Space, Power & Cooling. The BOD implements Industry Best Practice concepts, incorporating standards for Reliability and establishing requisites for Energy Efficiency and Green IT.
  • Conduct Comparative Evaluation. Finally, the EIU Plan systematically assesses evaluation factors and weights them. The final evaluation features both IT Issues (such as technical viability and reliability; manageability; communications demands), and Facility Limitations (construction obstacles, infrastructure age), as well as assessing the full Life Cycle Costs (Capital, Operational and One-time charges).

This EIU approach offers our federal clients a team of experts who can combine knowledge of the options and best practices in both the IT and facility environment. With this experience, the team works closely with the client to develop an integrated solution that supports the long-term needs in their IT System and Data Center environment.

About Total Site Solutions. TSS is a full service facility design and installation firm that specializes in mission-critical environments. We plan, design, build and maintain specialized facilities including Data Centers, NOCs, Communications Facilities and Secure Environments. Our TSS team offers unsurpassed expertise in the electrical, mechanical, telecomm, security, fire protection and building automation infrastructure that are the life’s blood of the facility. For nearly 30 years, TSS has pioneered high-availability infrastructure systems for specialized facilities. We were among the first companies to employ resilient, robust and scalable infrastructure in mission-critical facilities. Our experience and innovation have made us one of the industry’s leading experts and the consultant of choice among owners of the Nation’s most critical facilities

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