The Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI) became official on August 1, 2016, and even though it was original introduced in March, there’s still confusion about what’s involved and seems to be great uncertainty on where to get started. To better understand where things stand, we surveyed a group of government data center customers. Here’s what representatives from across agencies have to say about DCOI.
For context, DCOI requires the following by September 30, 2018:
- Advanced energy metering must be installed and energy usage accurately reported to OMB.
- Existing data centers must operate at a power usage effectiveness (PUE) rate below 1.5 or be shut down by the deadline.
- Manual reporting no longer acceptable and data center infrastructure management (DCIM) tools must be implemented for automated monitoring and operations.
Certainly discussions within agencies are taking place, as 33 percent of respondents say they heard about DCOI from a colleague. Still, a lack of clarity was apparent when those surveyed were asked where they need the most help — 50 percent revealed they need a better understanding of DCOI.
Similarly, DCOI requirements are a bit murky with 19 percent believing all data must be moved to the cloud; 10 percent thinking you must install rack level cooling and 25 percent citing consolidation. Yet none of these actions are specific to DCOI.
When it comes to starting to comply, nearly 40 percent plan to wait one year or more and only 28 percent will begin within the next few months. These numbers alone might not be so startling if it wasn’t for the fact that a whopping 76 percent of respondents are not monitoring PUE. Add to that, 67 percent of respondents say their PUE is higher than 1.5.
Curiously, while the vast majorities are not measuring PUE or are reporting a non-compliant number, only 22% say they need the most help in DCOI learning how to measure PUE; 19 percent cite energy metering and efficiency optimization and 17 percent reporting. These gaps in both knowledge and action clearly illustrate what I noted in the outset — there’s still confusion about what’s involved in DCOI.
How do you compare to survey respondents? If you fall in with either of the majorities above, where do you go from here?
DCIM and PUE
DCIM certainly paves the way to compliance, so if you’re like 12 percent of the survey respondents and have already implemented the tool, you’re are a step ahead.
However, while DCIM simplifies, automates and manages critical infrastructure in and around the data center just having DCIM in place does not automatically mean you have an accurate PUE calculation. DCIM must have access to all the critical data points it needs to calculate PUE; but these critical points often live on a separate network, and thus are not available to the tool.
Therefore, as DCOI lays out, you must first have proper and accessible metering in place, so that as much information about power consumption can be fed into the DCIM system for accurate measurement and reporting — from generators, power inputs of the mechanical chillers, switchgear, incoming power and lighting to racks and servers.
It’s in identifying all the elements in the power chain where you’ll be able to create an accurate power profile, discover areas for improvement and become compliant.
This DCIM FAQ goes into more details about the value of the software and its role in DCOI and incorporates an interactive infographic that takes you on a journey within the data center through the lens of DCIM.
Even if you are among the 33 percent of survey respondents who say PUE in their data centers is already below 1.5, I would still suggest taking a look at these six PUE resources, which includes our PUE Calculator, to ensure you are considering all the necessary factors.
Over the coming months, we’ll be sharing even more tools to help with DCOI. Feel free to comment below and let us know where you need the most help.