Transition to Cloud and Data Center Shared Services

Development Freeze for New and Current Data Centers

Beginning 180 days after issuance of this memorandum, agencies may not budget any funds or resources toward initiating a new data center or significantly expanding9 an existing data center without approval from OMB OFCIO.10 To request such approval, agencies must submit a written justification that includes an analysis of alternatives (including opportunities for cloud services, inter-agency shared services, and third party co-location) and an explanation of the net reduction in the agency’s data center inventory that will be facilitated by the new or expanded data center (such as through consolidation of multiple existing data centers into a single new data center).

Consolidation and Closure of Existing Data Centers

As previously required by the FDCCI, agencies shall continue to principally reduce application, system, and database inventories to essential enterprise levels by increasing the use of virtualization to enable pooling of storage, network and computer resources, and dynamic allocation on-demand. Thereafter, agencies shall evaluate options for the consolidation and closure of existing data centers,11 by (in order of priority):

  1. Transitioning to provisioned services, including configurable and flexible technology such as Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) to the furthest extent practicable, consistent with the Cloud First policy.12
  2. Migrating to inter-agency shared services or co-location data centers.
  3. Migrating to more optimized data centers within the agency’s data center inventory.

Cloud Investment

Cloud environments are scalable and allow agencies to provision resources as required, on-demand.13 Consistent with the Cloud First policy, agencies shall use cloud infrastructure where possible when planning new mission or support applications or consolidating existing applications. Agencies should take into consideration cost, security requirements, and application needs when evaluating cloud environments. As required by FITARA, agencies utilizing cloud services shall do so in a manner that is consistent with requirements of the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) guidance.14

Shared Services Managing Partner

To support the shared services efforts described by this memorandum, the General Services Administration (GSA) Office of Government-wide Policy (OGP) shall serve as the managing partner of the Federal Government’s data center line of business15 and data center shared services. OGP, in consultation with the Unified Shared Services Management office, shall establish and maintain a data center shared services marketplace and coordinate shared services for inter-agency consumption by:

  • Coordinating with OMB to define qualifying operating standards for inter-agency shared services providers, creating guidance materials for becoming such a provider, and identifying and approving candidate providers.
  • Maintaining and monitoring inter-agency shared services provider operating standards.
  • Maintaining an online inventory of qualified inter-agency shared services providers.
  • Establishing an online decision support tool to facilitate agency review, selection, and analysis of inter-agency shared services providers.
  • Coordinating with the GSA Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) to create and maintain an inventory of acquisition tools and products specific to the technology and services surrounding data center optimization, including procurement vehicles for the acquisition of automated infrastructure management and monitoring tools.
  • Developing, implementing, and maintaining financial and service models, as well as contracts, pertaining to data center procurement with customer/partner agencies and shared service providers.
  • Providing a forum for participating and interested agencies to discuss the inter-agency shared services marketplace.

In this role, OGP will serve as a trusted agent and subject matter expert to assist data center providers and consumers of data center services by providing guidance on technology advancements, innovation, cybersecurity, and best practices.

All agencies will have the option of submitting data centers of their choosing for review by OGP. Data centers that OGP determines satisfactory in all of their operating standards will be designated as inter-agency shared services providers.


9 The General Services Administration (GSA) Office of Government-wide Policy (OGP) will coordinate with OMB to define thresholds for what constitutes “significant” expansion within 60 days of publication of this memorandum.

10 Data centers certified by GSA OGP as Inter-agency Shared Service Provider data centers are excluded from this development freeze.

11 This requirement does not apply to GSA OGP designated inter-agency shared services data centers.

12 Federal Cloud Computing Strategy, February 8, 2011,

13 Ibid.

14 See FY2015 NDAA Sec. 834(3)(c).

15 Formed in 2004, lines of business (LOB) are cross-agency initiatives to define, design, implement and monitor a set of common solutions for government-wide business functions, processes, or desires capabilities. Each LOB is governed by a Managing Partner which is designated as the lead organization responsible for managing the business requirements of their community.