GOVERNMENT IT REPORT IT Convergence Trend Alters Approach to Federal Market

GOVERNMENT IT REPORT IT Convergence Trend Alters Approach to Federal Market 620 360 C-Suite Network

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Federal agencies have begun using an emerging information technology tool to manage the huge amount of data the United States government generates and stores. Federal IT managers recently have embraced the concept of convergence, which has been gaining traction in the private sector. Agencies also have indicated that the approach may be useful for other federal IT applications.

Spurred by several rounds of IT reform directives from the U.S. Congress and the White House Office of Management and Budget, agencies have begun seeking innovative methods to improve data storage. These efforts include shedding outdated legacy technologies in favor of more efficient and effective IT upgrades.

Converged systems have moved into the top echelon of these innovative options, according to a recent report from MeriTalk. Just over 70 percent of federal IT managers surveyed believed converged infrastructures would become the central housing mechanism for data center needs.

“As agencies hit a crossroads of multiple mandates and legislative initiatives to reduce legacy systems, the conversation on optimization is moving to the next level,” said Steve O’Keeffe, founder of MeriTalk.

“Converged infrastructure is the next step and gives agencies a way to meet the requirements of multiple mandates while saving money and modernizing federal IT systems,” he said.

Providers Boost Trend

Vendors serving the federal market that have observed the convergence trend have been encouraging agencies to embrace the concept.

IT convergence requires integrating various components of the data management chain. For the MeriTalk study, “we defined ‘converged’ as a multivendor solution consisting of, at a minimum, servers, storage, networking and management layers managed through a single pane of glass,” said Milo Speranzo, director of strategy and compliance at Tech Data.

That definition is consistent with the scope of elements in IDC’s description of converged solutions: “pre-integrated, vendor-certified systems containing server hardware, disk storage systems, networking equipment, and basic element and systems management software.”

In addition to meeting federal IT mandates, agencies recently have become motivated to seek improved data management technologies simply due to the enormity of the task.

Seventy-three percent of survey respondents said that workloads had increased over the last three years, MeriTalk reported. Data volume increased substantially during that time frame, nearly 80 percent of respondents said. Almost 75 percent of respondents reported that user volume also had grown. Almost 60 percent of federal IT managers said their agencies were struggling to keep up with such workloads.

The report, which was based on a survey of 150 federal IT managers, was underwritten by Cisco, NetApp and Tech Data. MeriTalk released it last month.

The indications that federal agencies saw value in converged technologies were relatively strong, considering the…