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FCW : September 30, 2014
September 30, 2014 FCW.COM 17 Never ones to carelessly leap into the latest tech trend, federal agencies are nevertheless taking steps to reinvent key IT infrastructure components. New approaches to data centers, networks and data management solu- tions are nding their way into gov- ernment agencies. Cloud computing continues to make its presence felt as vendors offer new platforms for developing and delivering applica- tions. Mobile technology is expand- ing, with position-based tools among the key developments. Security products, meanwhile, are evolving to keep watch over the changing landscape. The 2014 edition of FCW s hot com- panies to watch features vendors that seek to help agencies build and man- age the new IT environment. We chose 17 rms based on a number of factors, including the relevance of their offer- ings to key federal needs, how well they were represented on contract vehicles, their ability to make stra- tegic alliances with other companies and their efforts to reach out to the federal market. Here are this year s companies to watch, by area of expertise. Data center technology Agencies looking to save rack space and reduce operating costs at their data centers are turning to converged infrastructure products, which com- bine servers, storage, networking and a software management layer in a sin- gle device. Networking is also in for an overhaul as software-de ned net- working (SDN) continues to improve exibility and ease of management. Companies that are introducing those technologies to government custom- ers include Nutanix and Big Switch Networks. In the converged infrastructure space, Nutanix has landed customers at about 70 agencies since entering the federal market nearly two years ago. The company s most recent cus- tomers include the National Guard Bureau headquarters, the National Nuclear Security Administration, FBI headquarters and the Army s Human Resources Command. Nutanix s federal business grew 569 percent from 2012 to 2013, and the company reports that its number of federal customers, its revenue and its transactions with federal entities all more than doubled in the rst half of 2014. Dave Gwyn, vice president of fed- eral sales at Nutanix, said agencies are beginning to think outside the box when it comes to challenges such as consolidation, cloud migration, mobil- ity and data center modernization. "This has resulted in a movement toward a converged infrastructure approach, which is transforming how agencies are viewing the traditional data center," he said. Big Switch, which offers SDN software for data center networks, recently announced a partnership with In-Q-Tel, the investment orga- nization that identi es technology solutions that support the missions of the CIA and the wider intelligence sector. Big Switch CEO Doug Murray said the company has partnered with In- Q-Tel on multiple projects, with an emphasis on OpenStack cloud deployments. "We have seen a lot of the U.S. intelligence community s interest in hyperscale data center networks," he said, adding that federal sales rep- resent more than 15 percent of the company s 2014 revenue forecast. Big Switch is also in active discus- sions with potential federal partners outside the intelligence community, Murray added. Data management Big data and NoSQL technologies are transforming the data management sector, and products in this category seek to provide the ability to scale as datasets grow. Solutions from Mon- goDB, Splunk and Talend are nding roles at government agencies. MongoDB, developer of the Mon- goDB NoSQL database, counts the intelligence community, Defense Department and civilian agencies among its customers. The company is zeroing in on government needs such as crime data management and analytics, citizen engagement, pro- gram data management and health records management. Top federal projects in scal 2014 include the Department of Veterans Affairs Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record, the Federal Communica- tions Commission s mobile broad- band Speed Test app and the genome sequencing catalog at the National Cancer Institute s Advanced Biomedi- cal Computing Center. Will LaForest, senior director of U.S. federal sales at MongoDB, said the rapid proliferation of different types of data requires exible solu- tions and technologies that scale and deploy across a range of platforms. "The federal market is experiencing huge growth in the amount of data it is consolidating, which often means BY JOHN MOORE s 5 agency IT predictions for 2015 By Gunnar Hellekson 1 Formal and informal innovation teams will sprout at each agency, modeled on 18F and the U.S. Digital Service. 2 Hybrid cloud deployments, span- ning on- and off-premise services, will begin to take hold. 3 Agencies will work together in earnest on shared services and APIs, many of which will be open source. 4 Databases and virtualization man- agement will become prime targets for cost cutting. 5 More organizations will prefer building internal talent rather than outsourcing, making competition for young developers even more erce. Gunnar Hellekson is chief strategist for Red Hat's U.S. Public Sector.
September 15, 2014