Bird’s Eye View: Federal IT Trends

August in Washington, DC, gives a lot of folks an opportunity to slow down a bit and catch their breath.

But many Federal agencies are wrapping up their Fiscal Year 2014 IT projects, so it’s as busy as ever – and that’s just how we like it.

Looking Back

As we reach the end of the fiscal year, it’s interesting to note the IT trends we’re seeing within the Federal government:

  • The rapid, unceasing growth of data continues to be a dominant theme and a major challenge for agencies, forcing them to carefully consider how they store data.
  • More organizations are using Clustered Data ONTAP to handle data growth and reduce IT disruption, while also enabling unrestricted, secure data movement across multiple cloud environments.
  • Agencies embraced cloud computing with enthusiasm in Fiscal 2014. Their cloud strategies were motivated by an opportunity to save money, but they realized that cloud storage can also help them better execute their mission.
  • Agencies also realized that cloud computing is really just part of their evolution from building things to becoming brokers of services.
  • Over the past year we also saw agencies look more closely at shared infrastructure, and our storage solution is right in the middle of that initiative. Agencies understand that shared infrastructure can save money while providing secure multi-tenancy to their internal and external customers.
  • The use of flash is another new trend we see emerging among federal clients. Agencies are figuring out that flash provides superior performance when integrated into their storage architecture.
  • More and more, agencies tier their data – determine what can be archived at a lower cost and what data is critical and requires solutions such as flash to ensure high performance.

Looking Ahead

As we look ahead to the upcoming fiscal year, we believe agencies will continue to look to cloud computing and make progress on efforts to consolidate data centers.  We believe agencies will move to a hybrid cloud environment, with much of their infrastructure on-premise, while taking advantage of private and public clouds.

Federal agencies’ journey to a hybrid cloud will force them to make some hard choices. They will face difficult decisions on consolidating applications. They must also figure out how to control, secure, and manage data in a hybrid cloud environment. Agencies have to make sure they can move data once it’s in the cloud, but they don’t always consider that prior to their strategic decision to migrate data to the cloud.

We also expect IT spending to remain constrained at Federal agencies. In some cases agencies will have to be creative in order to invest in innovative solutions, but it will also drive more interest in cloud computing, software-defined storage, and delivering IT-as-a-service.

Faced with tight budgets, we foresee agencies will be looking for new ways to save money. Agencies know they can be more efficient, and we are helping them by reexamining their storage initiatives. Federal agencies are using our On Command Insight software to assess how well they utilize their IT resources. We have identified opportunities for some clients to make better use of existing storage capacity, helping them to be more efficient in their storage investments.

An Internal View

This is also a good time to acknowledge what we’ve accomplished internally and outline our goals for the upcoming fiscal year. I’m very proud of our efforts in Fiscal Year 2014, and I am even more optimistic for Fiscal Year 2015 because we have positioned ourselves so well.

We have evolved as a company. We embraced the cloud – just like our government clients.

We understand what our customers want and need, so we are delivering a portfolio of products that are in demand and provide value: software-defined storage, flash, high-performance storage, converged infrastructure, and multi-vendor storage management software.

Our focus on the cloud and our new portfolio allow us to help agencies achieve their missions.

Clustered Data ONTAP remains foundational to what we are delivering, but there are many other solutions we can provide our federal customers.

As we continue to work together, next year will look even better than this year. All of you are responsible for our success. Thank you for your dedication and tireless efforts to help our customers execute their mission.  Keep up the great work.

Rob Stein, Vice President, NetApp U.S. Public Sector