By Kevin Shaker
immixGroup, an Arrow company
Within the public sector, agencies have been cutting back on the amount of siloed data centers and systems across the federal landscape.
While the amount of hardware within the government is shrinking, the market has never been better for connected and hyper-converged technology suppliers that can help systems runs more efficiently and faster. Connected technologies that aid in virtualization, storage and networking will be the emphasized technologies for growth in FY18. The government spent more than $1.2 billion on connected technologies in FY17.
What has been driving the push toward connected and hyper-converged technology are regulations such as the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative, the Data Center Optimization Initiative and Cloud First policies. These policies have been tremendously effective at reducing costs from legacy stovepiped IT while streamlining functionality by encouraging purchasing of cutting-edge integration and converged systems.
Here are examples of how the government is utilizing hyper-converged platforms:
Department of Defense (DOD)
DOD has some of the most promising opportunities for hyper-converged projects. One of the more notable hyper-converged frameworks is DOD’s Joint Service Provider, which has modularly migrated over the past couple of years and has seen its computing and memory utilization performance metrics triple in optimization.
Also, each service branch underneath DOD has a supercomputing resource center for labs enabling DOD projects for scientists and engineers building war machines and conducting tests.
In October of FY17, the U.S. Army awarded $53 million for the establishment and maintenance of completely new supercomputers.
Agencies’ missions that call for copious amounts of data processing and scientific computation, such as NASA, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have the largest demand for these hyper-converged systems and environments.
But other agencies also have some opportunity for speedy and reliable communication and data processing. Supercomputers, known for having hyper-converged infrastructures, are not uncommon on the civilian side and often need more resources to expand their capabilities. In June of FY17, the Department of Energy awarded $258 million for developing exascale computers that are 10 times stronger than prototypes to be developed by 2021, a year after China’s exascale computer is to be completed, showcasing the new IT arms race.
State and local and education (SLED)
Most state infrastructures are still running on mainframes and not even close to adopting software-defined networking and VDI infrastructures. This doesn’t rule out implementation completely, but it means that hyper-converged conversations can start as a catalyst for future opportunities.
Some education and local entities have switched to hyper-converged infrastructures but they’re typically smaller in scale. The Shaker Regional School District in Belmont, N.H., for example, became hyper- converged in the past year and is enjoying not having to manage SAN, storage and servers separately. As a result, the district’s financial reporting process has gone from 20 minutes to five. In addition, operating costs have been cheaper as well. Case studies at lower entities like here help to establish a brand and products awareness which could be a good area to start for smaller providers who are searching for opportunity.
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