May 25, 2012
Efforts by the Department of Energy to Ensure Energy-Efficient Management of its Data Centers
The Department had taken certain actions designed to improve the management of its data centers. Our review, however, identified a number of opportunities to improve the energy efficiency of its IT operations. The problems we identified occurred, in part, because the Department had not always established specific goals or performance metrics, or otherwise incentivized its organizations and sites to attain the energy-efficiency levels outlined in Executive Order 13514 in a timely manner; data center resources and IT equipment were not effectively controlled to promote efficiency in energy usage and space utilization; and, Department organizations and sites had not effectively coordinated efforts to promote efficiencies through full utilization of data center space. Without improvements, the Department will continue to spend more than necessary operating data centers and server rooms. Furthermore, a lack of coordination regarding advances in energy efficiency may hinder the Department's progress in meeting Federal and Department energy reduction goals. Also, inadequate progress relating to data center consolidation resulted in missed opportunities for potential cost savings related to energy usage and maintenance costs.
Notably, the Department had taken certain actions to improve energy efficiencies supporting its IT infrastructure. However, additional effort is necessary to ensure that all data centers operated by or on behalf of the Department are managed in an energy-efficient manner. Therefore, we have made several recommendations that, if fully implemented, should improve the Department's ability to reduce energy usage and related costs associated with its computing environment.