Most government agencies have been on an IT modernization path for quite some time now, guided by federal strategies on cloud computing, data center optimization, artificial intelligence (AI) and more. This is significant as many agencies prefer to outsource IT management, so they can focus more on their missions. According to Deltek, the fiscal year (FY) 2021 federal IT budget request is $92.2 billion, an increase of 0.2% YOY. Key to this budget request is a continued focus on IT modernization to improve mission delivery, productivity and security using the following strategies:[i]
- Cloud computing and shared services adoption
- Recruiting, retention and reskilling the workforce for IT and cybersecurity
- Reducing the federal cybersecurity risk
- Continued use of the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF)
The TMF is a funding vehicle that gives agencies access to additional budget for IT modernization initiatives for approved projects. Examples include:[ii]
- $500k to the USDA to complete migration of applications to the cloud
- $3.7 million to the DOE to migrate enterprise email to the cloud
- $13.8 million to HUD to accelerate the migration of critical business systems from an on-premises mainframe database to the cloud
While the digital transformation journey may differ depending on an agency’s mission and scope, the end goal is a modern IT platform that can empower innovation and collaboration while ensuring the right guardrails are in place to balance risk, protect information and earn trust. By leveraging a globally distributed interconnection platform such as Platform Equinix® to deploy secure hybrid multicloud architectures, agencies can easily achieve this goal.
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Optimizing the digital transformation journey via cloud
For public and private sector IT teams, moving to the cloud as part of the digital transformation journey is a given. More often than not, it’s the first step taken, even though it soon becomes apparent that network transport is a crucial bridge to cloud services. The ability to instantly turn services up or down as needed with pay-as-you-go cost efficiency can enable agencies to deliver on their mission faster, better and at less cost. Moreover, with hybrid cloud, some applications and data can be kept on-premises for better security and data management. For example, it may not be practical to move a large data warehouse with petabytes of critical data to the cloud, although some cloud-based applications may need access to it. Bridging the old with the new is the very essence of secure hybrid multicloud.
Some key questions to consider when beginning a transformation to secure hybrid multicloud include:
- What is the goal for this transformation and expected return on investment?
- What mission function will this support? How critical is it?
- What applications and systems currently support that function and where are they located?
- What new digital services, functions and/or emerging technologies are targeted for inclusion?
- Which applications will migrate to cloud and which will remain on-premises?
- Who are the target users and what are their locations? Are they geographically distributed?
- Is this single or multi-agency? Is collaboration with external partners required? What governance will need to be put in place?
- What data regulations will apply?
- What level of security and data encryption is required?
- What mode of network transport will be used?
As new approaches are explored, many of these questions must be solved in real-time. A new generation of rapid application development frameworks have greatly compressed the timeline from conceptualization to operationalizing new applications. And emerging technologies and architectures such as distributed AI are making it easier than ever before to create applications that are collaborative, adaptive and intuitive. A mobile app today is far more likely to depend on data or other applications that enable it to produce highly accurate information on-demand.
Bringing it all together with interconnection
There’s no doubt that the cloud is an essential part of delivering your mission at speed, for now and into the future. Regionally distributed, hybrid multicloud environments such as those enabled by Platform Equinix make it easy to achieve the kind of advanced integration needed for modern government services. And as data volumes continue to grow, fast, secure interconnectivity for data exchange between different sources is critical for optimal performance and user experience.
Reducing latency and improving performance boils down to simple physics – the less data you need to move around, the faster application response time can be. Increasingly digital infrastructure is being Equinix Fabric™, a global, software-defined network (SDN), provides a holistically extensible, on-demand transport mechanism to support these highly transactional, advanced digital edge environments. Comprising literally thousands of network, cloud and managed service providers, Equinix Fabric is a superhighway of sorts, with SDN-integrated terrestrial, SATCOM and wireless/5G modes of transport through many carrier partnerships.
By leveraging an interconnection strategy as outlined in the article , “Cloud Is Not a Destination – It’s an Operating Model,” agency leaders can achieve an agile and secure digital infrastructure that delivers mission goals at software speed.
To learn more, schedule an interactive virtual Digital Edge Strategy Briefing.
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