2017 will see the beginning of a new presidential administration and holds the potential to be a year of action. With this in mind, I’d like to propose five New Year’s resolutions for federal IT leadership and the new administration that will enable real change in 2017.
Establish IT as central to agency missions and retire legacy systems
Federal agencies are beginning to understand the potential of digital transformation and how it supports their missions. Yet in order to power these technologies, IT modernization is critical. Just as a Lamborghini won’t run up to its full potential on a dirt road, the most cutting edge technologies will be limited by outdated infrastructure.
This coming year, agencies must resolve to retire all legacy systems that are more than ten years old. If IT infrastructure is older than your first cell phone, it can’t support digital transformation securely or effectively. For example, software-defined infrastructure and network solutions that offer visibility and automation allow agencies to adjust to unpredictable network traffic and the explosion of data caused by digital transformation. It’s time to prioritize these network options and serve citizens, taxpayers and our armed forces with the digital experience that they get everywhere else.
Technological advances in all areas across the federal government have changed the way agencies work and interact with citizens. For government agencies to keep pace with technological innovation, network modernization and a transition away from hardware-centric data centers must be a top priority.
Hardware-centric legacy data centers were not built to keep pace with the needs of modern IT and make provisioning new technology slow, expensive, and error-prone. This hinders innovation in the era of mobile, social, cloud, and big data and may even lead employees to turn elsewhere for services when delays and other issues prohibit productivity.
California’s Department of Water Resources (DWR) is one example of an organization that was prohibited by its legacy networks and found a solution through a Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC). Challenges managing data center security policies and enabling efficient network provisioning negatively impacted DWR employees’ abilities to quickly access the applications they needed to do their jobs. The challenges faced by DWR are all too common in agencies across the federal government, as well.
Awareness of the need for data center consolidation has come a long way since 2010 when the Office of Management and Budget launched the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative (FDCCI). However, while there is no lack of conversation on the issue, measurable results have been limited and the number of centers in operation has only increased.
The good news is that data center consolidation efforts have generated considerable savings over time – an estimated $2.8 billion from 2011 to 2015 according to recent GAO reports. Yet the same report stated that of the 10,584 data centers in operation, only 3,125 were closed in 2015 - revealing missed opportunities for greater savings. The benefits of consolidated, optimized data centers are tremendous: application effectiveness, programmatic control, security and data integrity, elasticity and scalability, and automation. All of these ensure agencies have a robust data center architecture that meets their current and future requirements.
Current directives like the recently released Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI) support CIOs and agency leaders. The initiative requires agencies to not only report on their data consolidation efforts, but also optimize existing technology infrastructure and transition to more efficient options, such as cloud. The DCOI provides actionable guidance and places a freeze on new data centers. CIOs are now more empowered and driven to reduce government’s data center count to 1,000.
Government networks now face a multitude of users demanding access to massive amounts of data, but they’re losing steam trying to keep up.
The legacy frameworks propelling them forward aren’t getting any more capable, either. But through a revolutionary networking practice called the New IP, limited and wasteful networks can transform into open networks — and they can do it now.
byAnthony Robbins01-18-201608:52 AM - edited 01-18-201609:18 AM
On December 9, 2015 industry leaders from Brocade, AT&T, General Motors and Facebook joined senior officials from the federal government, including U.S. CIO Tony Scott, to discuss one of the most pressing issues facing our nation, the Future of U.S. Digital Infrastructure.
bytony.celeste11-17-201507:09 AM - edited 11-17-201507:10 AM
“The modernization of the IT environment of the federal government has to be one of our highest priorities,” Federal CIO Tony Scott said this summer at the Brocade Federal Forum. “We’re going to have to replace large parts of what we have because [existing network architecture] just was never designed for the mission and for the challenges that we face today.”