Government IT: Digital transformation has been recognized as being vital to the growth of our nation. This transformation has enjoyed the unanimous approval and contribution from all stake holders including enterprises, MSMEs, government bodies and citizens. But this level of adoption in a country with a population of over a billion people would need a robust technology base that is capable to collecting and distributing vital data seamlessly.
Digital India envisions creating high speed digital highways, that will impact commerce and create a digital footprint for every individual. Technologies based on mobility, analytics, Internet of things and most importantly, cloud technologies are the building blocks for the digital India mission. There is a growing need to manage huge volumes of data, and making them readily available to public through digital cloud services. Cloud has a pivotal role in enabling this change.
While Data centers have become crucial to this transformation, IT leaders increasingly recognize that current data centers have reached their limits for supporting how state and local governments need to work and provide services. Lightening the load to adapt to increasing demand is the principle many government IT managers have in mind as they look to make data centers more efficient, flexible and capable for delivering new services. Government IT departments are also prioritizing investments in data center consolidation and new technologies to enable higher IT service levels.
Trends that are impacting Government IT spending
There are three trends that are impacting government IT today: Virtualization and cloud
Infrastructure as a service (IaaS); Flexible infrastructure for application development and delivery.
Evolving Data Center to Hyperconvergence for Virtualization and Cloud
The traditional image of a data center is a cavernous room filled with rows of equipment racks and whirring, blinking boxes. This reality is fast disappearing as advances in virtualization technology pack more capabilities into smaller devices. Government data centers are evolving to take advantage of virtualization, especially for servers and storage. The goal is to capture the associated benefits of higher data center efficiency and optimization, as well as reduced capital and operational expenses.
The data center model is also evolving to support private cloud and IT as a service to accomplish IT projects faster and more effectively. Virtualization enables a hyper-converged infrastructure that integrates servers and storage in a single appliance. The systems leverage industry-standard hardware and software defined storage, enabling easy scalability and management. A well-designed hyper-convergence infrastructure in the data center offers several additional advantages for IT operations and service delivery like
Cost reductions for infrastructure, software licenses, cabling and other elements, with predictable budgeting for data center growth; Easier, on-demand and linear scalability of compute and storage resources, which reduces the need to overprovision resources in anticipation of potential performance demands; and flexibility to support new IT offerings, such as analytics, that help government employees improve services to constituents
Simpler management with fewer server and storage silos.
Delivering Private Cloud and Infrastructure as a Service
One key to agility — in both government and IT — is having the right resources ready to go at a moment’s notice, but to use them only when they are truly needed. That agility is behind the idea of IaaS on hyper-converged infrastructure: delivering computing, storage and network resources on demand to application developers and users.
This environment operates like a private cloud, where the IT infrastructure can serve more applications and users without the need to add more staff. By creating a private internal cloud, IT managers also can reduce concerns that come with using untrusted or shared cloud services, including security, compliance and audit trails.
IT can automate many operational tasks around provisioning and orchestration, which makes it easier to activate or repurpose servers as needed. Additionally, automated configuration and management of IT resources means IT staff can focus on strategic, high-value activities.
Any Application at Any Scale
From a smartphone app used by one employee to a complex information system used by hundreds, the ability to deliver any application at any scale is essential for government IT. This scalability requires an infrastructure that can quickly deliver the right resources for compute requirements, storage capacity and application performance. Yet different applications commonly used for government functions require different types of resources and performance levels. For example, a GIS (Geographic Information Systems) application needs more storage capacity than compute capability, while transaction-oriented applications are often compute-intensive and don’t require as much data storage.
An agile government is one that has the information, applications and computing capabilities that keep pace with the fast-paced changes in citizen and employee expectations for services. By considering the data center trends discussed, IT can make the infrastructure simpler while also delivering services that make government better. Cloud has demonstrated the capability to digitize the governance system while proving to be cost efficient. The global world is eager to see India embrace the Cloud Computing frontier led by technology capabilities to improve people’s lives.
The writer is India MD and VP of Nutanix. Views are personal.