Rarely have two briefings stood in such stark contrast as two I attended this week. On one side stood Zahl Limbuwala and Liam Newcombe, CEO and CTO, respectively, of Romonet, a company announcing the availability of its DCIM product in the U.S. market this week. When last I saw Limbuwala, he was leading the fight against the U.K. carbon cap scheme. A fairly lengthy list of data center luminaries joined Limbuwala and Newcombe on-stage at a DatacenterDynamics pre-event held today.

This is the kind of event at which DatacenterDynamics excels.

157 Federal IT decision makers, as represented by a MeriTalk/NetApp survey released yesterday, comprised the other side. I had the pleasure of speaking with MeriTalk’s Steve O’Keeffe about the survey.

Romonet’s new product, Prognose, represents the upside of the picture. According to Limbuwala, Prognose delivers endless value. He and Newcombe say that DCIM technology provides a basis for understanding the current operations of a data center, while Prognose functions as a predictive modeling tool, capturing a current picture of a data center or a new design, enabling what-if scenarios, and communicating all these results in a business case. In short, they say it is a tool that provides essential information to IT, facilities, and the CFO.

Intel’s chief architect, data center group, Chuck Rego, said he was “jazzed and excited” about the tool. I’ll leave you to follow the links to learn more about Romonet’s Prognose.

On the other hand, the MeriTalk survey painted a bleak picture the situation in the federal IT sector. According to the group, “To save money, increase efficiencies, and fund the move to the cloud, the Federal government aims to eliminate 800 data centers by 2015 – with 137 slated for closure this year. In May 2011, MeriTalk and NetApp surveyed 157 Federal IT decision makers to dig deeper into the metrics agencies use to measure consolidation savings and to determine if agencies are increasing efficiency as they consolidate.”

Of the respondents only 23 percent knew the PUE at which their data centers operated, 31 percent knew the server load, and 29 percent knew the average power server density. In addition, fewer than half agreed with the statement, “The IT department has an incentive to achieve data center savings, including savings that will be realized by budgets outside of IT.”

Most discouraging: “Agencies are unclear whether they are actually saving, and whether they can use those savings to fund cloud transition.”

These numbers and attitudes don’t surprise me. Some years ago at a data center meeting, an IT professional from the FBI told me he had never even been to a non-FBI data center, when I asked him to compare how public and private data centers operate.

O’Keeffe said that the survey results would be useful in planning the federal government’s consolidation program, as it provides a baseline for understanding the entire situation. The results, he said, had been shared with Congress, and initiatives that would improve these numbers had been launched. Included among these programs are a Data Center Exchange for federal IT workers and an awards program featuring a $50,000 prize for the best money-saving idea.  Steve’s site is terrific and rather than detail every initiative on it, I’d suggest you follow the link.