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FCW : July 15, 2014
ANTHONY ROBBINS is vice president of federal sales at Brocade. Commentary | ANTHONY ROBBINS The technological advancements that have occurred in the IT uni- verse in the past 10 to 20 years are remarkable. Today s smartphones and tablets provide access to information faster than the main- frame computers of 20 years ago. Storage costs have plummeted, and an ever-growing share of data and processing is moving to the cloud. Not only can computers connect to the Internet, but so can cars, refrigerators and watches. In the federal space, cloud- rst and virtualization initiatives --- which are designed to provide a more ef cient, modernization- ready and technology-optimized environment --- are gaining steady momentum at government agen- cies. Before server virtualization became mainstream, IT assets in the public sector were severely underused, resulting in unneces- sary duplication and expensive redundancies. In recent years, however, mak- ing server virtualization a prior- ity has produced dramatic cost savings and myriad bene ts for IT managers and end users alike. Yet for all the advancements we ve seen in consumer technol- ogy and enterprise applications in the past couple of decades, gov- ernment networks have remained largely unchanged. That slow pace of technology adoption is affect- ing both system management and portfolio development, and leading many people to ask about the next step in the government s innova- tion agenda. Mobile, social, cloud storage and shared services have combined to dramatically alter the nature of network traf c and data manage- ment, yet stagnant networking technologies are hampering col- laboration and productivity. Conse- quently, modernizing the network is an essential building block for government CIOs who strive to improve citizen services and sup- port for war ghters. Virtualized networks and soft- ware de ned networking (SDN) --- hallmarks of the modernized net- work --- are designed to handle the new pace of traf c, exibly direct information and ef ciently transfer data. What s more, the amount of money the government could save as a result of network modern- ization is astounding. Brocade s recent white paper "The Neces- sity of Network Modernization" concluded that the government has an opportunity to potentially save more than $2 billion annually by modernizing its network systems and procurement strategies. The bene ts go beyond the nancial, however. SDN in particu- lar offers a new way to manipu- late networks by improving both agility and economies of scale. The technology makes it possible to manage networks externally with unprecedented automation and predictive capabilities. Some government organizations are already taking advantage of the new opportunities offered by SDN and network modernization, par- ticularly the Defense Department. But many more are watching and waiting --- and hindering their abil- ity to deliver on critical missions as a result. The network is central to all the IT functions on which the government depends every day. From sending an email message to accessing information stored in the cloud, the network determines how ef ciently and quickly infor- mation can be used and shared. If cost savings, cloud adoption, improved mobility and more ef - cient data use are agency priorities, then the next step is clear: It is time to embrace the next big thing in government IT and get moving on network modernization. ■ Pivoting for the next big leap in government IT For all the advancements we've seen in consumer technology and enterprise applications in the past couple of decades, government networks have remained largely unchanged Modernizing the network is an essential building block for government CIOs striving to improve citizen services and support for warfighters. 14 July 15, 2014 FCW.COM
June 15, 2014
July 30, 2014