The Challenge of Evolving Federal IT Infrastructures
Today’s U.S. federal agencies have a lot to handle when it comes to IT infrastructure decisions. Many struggle to navigate disruptive technologies and still-unfamiliar private/hybrid and public cloud landscapes. Some still grapple with a disparate mix of legacy, often-siloed, multivendor hardware. At the same time, others are being asked to meet stringent data/performance needs of critical, next-generation applications—including those based on IoT, AI and Machine Learning (ML).
Unlike their commercial peers, however, the challenges of federal IT teams tend to go a bit farther. Your agencies actions, even from an IT perspective, must also align with critical National objectives: Sometimes, to aid and protect citizens, to guard critical National interests, or to fulfill important fiduciary government roles.
For federal IT teams, this can mean adhering to various government mandates, such as the need to bolster IT security and block future, state-sponsored digital attacks. It also means adherence to Federal initiatives like the Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI) to further optimize and consolidate Federal data center operations or base closures.
In the midst of such competing federal priorities and mandates, your IT organization must make the best judgment call regarding infrastructure decisions. At times, this can include going to the heart of your infrastructure: With acquisitions of the right storage hardware and software to house your growing application data sets. It also means making good decisions about how best to secure and protect your data sets. And, it can mean determining how best to extend your data and applications from edge to core and, even, out to an increasingly multi-cloud world.
Helping You Make Good Storage Infrastructure Decisions
In regards to data storage, specifically, such infrastructure decisions can prompt many questions that go well past hardware comparisons of “speeds and feeds”. These are questions like:
- Am I making the right infrastructure choices to help my organization transform and modernize— both now and in the future?
- Am I making the right decisions about where my agencies data should “live” and how we should manage, secure and protect it?
- Am I handling the emerging world of cloud services in the safest, most effective manner?
- Am I making the right infrastructure investments for my IT budget?
Such broad questions often have no ready answers. They are also the kind of questions that require the guidance of trusted DoD and Federal IT infrastructure partners who can deliver both the right levels of expertise as well as the right breadth of infrastructure choices to meet both your federal priorities and your budget.
Common Storage Questions and Insights
When it comes to how best to choose or purchase storage for their IT infrastructure, federal agencies often ask us many questions. What follows are a few common questions as well as our insights.
Storage Question #1: How Well Does The Solution Work With Legacy/Multivendor Environments?
Agencies often ask IMPRES for help implementing the most suitable and affordable storage solution to meet their needs. Chief among their concerns is how easily any new storage will integrate with existing storage environments that already contain one or more storage vendor devices. They also want to know how easily they will be able to perform storage system upgrades with any new solution.
Here, when it comes to DELL/EMC solutions (whether small, midrange or enterprise-grade), IMPRES can readily assist. “IMPRES’ Dell/EMC offerings are flexible enough to adapt to current environments,” says Paul Gill, VP, Civilian at IMPRES. “IMPRES has helped many federal customers architect new Dell/EMC storage solutions for demanding use cases and requirements. These solutions seamlessly integrate into multi-vendor environments.”
Many Dell/EMC storage offerings are also known for easy, in-place upgrade functionality. This allows agencies to start smaller, where budgets require it, then scale up or out later without fear of significant downtime during the upgrade process. For agencies looking to consolidate further, Dell EMC storage solutions have also been used successfully to help agencies identify, consolidate or replace previously inefficient or underutilized storage.
IMPRES has also found some Dell EMC solutions to offer interesting software layers that can help agencies better view, index and unify the data stored in their multivendor environments.
Storage Question #2: How Can I Plan for Both Current Storage Needs and Unpredictable Future Needs?
This is another common question we are often asked by Federal IT agencies. In response, IMPRES offers guidance on alternatives to satisfy the agencies current storage needs. It also is able to offer valuable long-term input. This combined guidance helps agencies make critical decisions about the different options available to help them scale their storage. This may include viable ways for them to scale their storage both up and out, as well as options to help them scale both on-premises and off-premises (i.e., into one or more public cloud environments).
Working in conjunction with Dell/EMC, IMPRES can help agencies hone in on which options are the best fit for their own unique use case. IMPRES also further aids agencies by offering a full range of lifecycle storage services for whichever area of need the organization most requires. This can include initial assessment, planning and design, SAN and NAS design and deployment, flash arrays as well as backup and recovery solutions.
Storage Question #3: How Should We Handle the Low-Latency/Fast Transfer Needs of Big Data or AI?
IMPRES works with many customers to reduce performance bottlenecks in their environments. Emerging, high-intensive applications in the area of Big Data, AI and Machine Learning present greater challenges for performance.
One way IMPRES has seen good success meeting these high-intensity storage needs is by incorporating all-flash and hybrid arrays from the Dell EMC Unity XT family of offerings.
Storage Question #4: What Should We Do About Data Security and Data Protection?
As a trusted advisor to federal customers, IMPRES is able to answer these questions by taking the time to first sit down with our customers and try to understand more about their unique data security requirements. This includes learning how they might be currently protecting their data. This fact-finding allows us to then suggest the correct solution to not only meet the agency’s current data requirements, but one that will also grow with them as the data grows.
We also help advise our federal customers about the best-practice usage of different price/performance tiers of storage that can be adopted at different phases of a data lifecycle as their data goes from “hot” or Tier 1 storage to more affordable Tier 2 or Tier 3 “colder” storage systems. It is just as important at the end of the data’s life to also electronically shred the data and reclaim the storage space.
Dell EMC storage solutions offer various options and solutions to streamline backup and recovery—at the local, on-premises level and across one or more U.S. geographic regions. These solutions are also designed to dramatically reduce the amount of backup data needing to be transmitted and stored.
Dell EMC storage also offers rich data tiering functionality as well as various mechanisms for software-based data movement, copying and replication. From a data security perspective, IMPRES is able to inform customers about the various layers of rugged, hardware-based and software-based data security available within various Dell EMC storage offerings.
From a secure backup perspective, IMPRES works closely with federal teams to ensure the Dell EMC solutions of choice will meet the customer’s specific SLA goals surrounding data security, RTO (Recovery Time Objective) and RPO (Recovery Point Objective).
The storage-related questions and insights highlighted here are just a small sampling of the types of questions federal agencies ask us as they strive to modernize, automate and transform their own IT infrastructures.
Unlike other IT solution providers, IMPRES doesn’t just respond to organization bids for more storage. We take our role as a trusted advisor more seriously. We are not afraid to ask hard questions that require customers to think more carefully about their current storage requirements and their future growth needs.
We then work closely with an agency’s decision-makers to find the best storage fit for their needs. By doing so, we are then able to offer a Dell/EMC solution with the flexibility to scale up or out, based on the specific technical requirements of the customer’s data types.
This is how we would want to be treated. It’s also how we have consistently earned our customers’ trust.
Contact us at 1-800-652-9686 for a complimentary review of your storage infrastructure or visit www.imprestechnology.com for more information. We have answers to your storage questions and access to a wide range of solutions to meet your needs.