FedInsights by Red Hat

How open source concepts are permeating all aspects of IT modernization

Modernizing in the Current Environment

People recognize now the more you can automate technologies to do things on their own, the quicker you can adapt and in these times adaptation is really the key. Things like security, telemedicine and telework are viewed a little differently because the risk-reward ratio has shifted.

Applying Open Source Concepts

We’ve worked a lot with customers to build what we call a trusted software supply chain. How can you develop software based capabilities in a rapid fashion but still have that integrity around security and ensure you are building the right product for the use cases?

It’s been almost four years since the Office of Management and Budget launched the code.gov platform where agencies can post open source and promote reuse.

While this wasn’t the beginning of the use of open source in government, recent surveys show the interest in using secure, community based code is growing.

Survey respondents from the 25 largest agencies found, generally speaking, open source provided a way to build a community around the software, to create development efficiencies, to demonstrate competencies, and to view code as being beneficial to the public.

At the same time, respondents continued to have concerns. These included areas around scope alignment, change in work practices, risk avoidance, and need for permissions.

Despite some continued culture hesitations about open source, there are plenty of examples of public sector organizations, from the Smithsonian Institution to the Defense Department, finding value from using open source software.

And now with the surge and acceleration of the move to the cloud, open source can play a bigger role across all agencies.

Jason Corey, the senior director for emerging technologies at Red Hat, said the pandemic has brought a sense of urgency to agency digital transformation efforts like few other events have done before.

“People recognize now the more you can automate technologies to do things on their own, the quicker you can adapt – and in these times adaptation is really the key,” Corey said on Innovation in Government. “Things like security, telemedicine and telework are viewed a little differently because the risk-reward ratio has shifted.”

Across all of the public sector, there is a new appreciation for this concept of “forward investing,” preparing for tomorrow’s mission needs today.

Corey said a big part of that forward investing strategy includes a new way for agencies to balance that risk-reward ratio.

“When we talk about open source, I like to frame it in three different ways. The natural [way] people think about it is [as] the development model for software, and the output of that is, often times, technology used across the enterprise,” he stated. “Increasingly over the last six or seven years we’ve seen a shift among customers where it’s a way to organize and it’s a leadership construct for this new kind of information age where adaptability is important and the voicing of ideas and being transparent becomes more and more important.”

He said concepts in open source development communities are now being applied to agile development, operations, marketing, and logistic teams across organizations.

“Everything we touch now is software, and that really…is what is driving the rise of how agile can be applied to this [open source philosophy] – and because such great software has been developed by these same methodologies, now people are really opening up the aperture of ‘how can these be applied to other areas of the organization and drive in that adaptability?’”

Corey said the speed and adaptability that many agencies seek can come from the use of iterative development, the use of Kubernetes and containers and the creation of an overarching process called a software factory.

“We’ve worked a lot with customers to build what we call a trusted software supply chain. How can you develop software based capabilities in a rapid fashion but still have that integrity around security and ensure you are building the right product for the use cases?” he said.

Corey said there are several steps agencies should determine as they consider modernization priorities.

“The first question to consider is, do you modernize or build new?” he said. “Sometimes it does make sense to capture the data and present that data to a new application that you built. The other thing that we see is most of the modernizations will involve cloud, and people have gravitated toward containers because of the portability aspect and density aspect.”

 

 

 

 

About Red Hat & Carahsoft

Red Hat is the world’s leading provider of enterprise open source software solutions, using a community-powered approach to deliver reliable and high-performing Linux, hybrid cloud, container, and Kubernetes technologies. Red Hat helps customers integrate new and existing IT applications, develop cloud-native applications, standardize on their industry-leading operating system, and automate, secure, and manage complex environments.

Carahsoft Technology Corp. is The Trusted Government IT Solutions Provider®. As a top-performing GSA Schedule, SEWP and SLSA contract holder, Carahsoft has served as Red Hat’s master government aggregator and distributor for more than 14 years.

Working as strategic partners–and through a robust ecosystem of value-added channel of partners and system integrators–the companies deliver top-tier Red Hat solutions to federal, state, and local government agencies, as well as the education community, supporting the public sector’s mission to prepare for the digital future and modernize approaches to IT through the application of open source solutions.