The software is giving us a way to create processes, tools and automated workflows so that I can go from a 14 or 15 step process to provision a service down to a standardized workflow that will do it for me in minutes or an hour.
Of the 24 CFO Act agencies, half met at least some or all of their data center goals for fiscal 2018.
The federal IT dashboard says NASA, the Agriculture Department, the Office of Personnel Management and the Social Security Administration were among the agencies meeting their goals for 2018. Overall, the government fell short in closing tiered and non-tiered data centers last fiscal year.
The Office of Management and Budget reports agencies closed just over 3,000 non-tiered data centers out of a goal of over 4,000, and closed 210 tiered data centers out of a goal of 471.
As OMB released its draft updated data center policy, the goals of closures and optimization could be replaced by new and better ways to calculate costs and therefore savings when it came to data centers. OMB is taking lessons learned from USDA’s infrastructure optimization Center of Excellence (CoE) and come up with eight categories to calculate the costs of data centers.
And part of the way to calculate costs is by moving agencies off of legacy technology and into the cloud or at least a virtualized environment. Most experts in and out of government agree that agencies will continue to operate data centers and live in a hybrid environment for the short term.
So how do agencies to take advantage of technologies like software-defined networking (SDN) to modernize and improve data center optimization?
Jeff Reilly, the senior director of the Americas commercial presales for Dell EMC, said SDN lets agencies move faster and become more agile by redefining their infrastructure.
“Most organizations are 80 or 90 percent virtualized and all of that is really provided us a way to add infrastructure capacity on demand, be able to move a virtual machine operating systems or applications wherever we need them to be based on service levels or infrastructure needs,” Reilly said on the Innovation in Government show. “We are seeing cloud adoption and data centers being a part of that cloud adoption strategy. Data centers are a part of a hybrid model, where I can run things on premise where I need security, policies and to control my data. And then how can I use the public cloud for burst capacity or put cloud native workloads out to those providers.”
The growth of software-defined networking, storage, compute and other traditionally hardware dependent areas is making it easier for agencies to move through the three phases of IT modernization–modernize, automate and transform.
Reilly said agencies have been trying to adopt new technology for many years as part of their modernization strategy.
But the trend now is how to take advantage of automation, which is where SDN can really have a big impact.
“The software is giving us a way to create processes, tools and automated workflows so that I can go from a 14 or 15 step process to provision a service down to a standardized workflow that will do it for me in minutes or an hour. That’s very different,” he said. “The transform is where the real value comes in where you are now changing the way you operate, the people, the process and the tooling as whole to focus on the outcomes.”
Reilly said all of this is leading agencies down a path of hyper convergence where SDN, cloud, automation and other related concepts come together to create this agile approach to IT modernization.
He said hyper-convergence is on its “hype curve” across the public and private sectors.
“It’s growing at 150 percent across most industries and it’s one of the hottest areas in the federal government because of the simplicity of deployment. If I need to add capacity or get a workload out more quickly, hyper convergence is a very easy way of doing that,” Reilly said. “What we are seeing is it started out in what we call appliance models where people are buying one or two or eight appliances. Now you are scaling it up to where you need a switch, you are tying it into your network and you need to make it bigger. You are really buying into a software strategy.”
But Reilly said agencies need to ensure they have a long-term vision for where software and automation can have the biggest impacts because most organizations will remain in a hybrid cloud environment for the near future.
About Dell EMC
Dell EMC, a part of Dell Technologies, enables federal agencies to modernize, automate and transform their data center using industry-leading converged infrastructure, servers, storage and data protection technologies. This provides a trusted foundation for organizations to transform IT, through the creation of a hybrid cloud, and transform their agencies through the creation of cloud-native applications and big data solutions. Dell EMC Federal offers the industry’s most comprehensive and innovative portfolio from edge to core to cloud.
Jeffrey Reilly is Senior Director, Americas Commercial Modern Data Center Sales Engineering at Dell EMC, and brings to this role more than 10 years’ of experience in technology operations, design and deployment and 19 years of technology sales and management. His engineering and architecture teams help customers in North & South America including Federal Govt. Modernize, Automate and Transform IT through Converged, Hyper-converged and traditional storage solutions. He is responsible for ensuring that sales engineers and service professionals understand and communicate the unique value that Dell EMC brings to customers and business partners.
Prior to this role Jeff has held infrastructure architecture and management roles at Bell Laboratories, AT&T, Sun Microsystems, Oracle and VCE. Throughout his career he has developed organizations of all sizes focus on designing technology solutions that deliver positive business outcomes.
Jeff holds a Bachelor degree in Information and System Sciences from Richard Stockton University, New Jersey.
Jason Miller is an executive editor and reporter with Federal News Network. As executive editor, Jason helps direct the news coverage of the station and works with reporters to ensure a broad range of coverage of federal technology, procurement, finance and human resource news.As a reporter, Jason focuses mainly on technology and procurement issues, including cybersecurity, e-government and acquisition policies and programs.