Flexible infrastructure allows state and local government to more easily leverage IoT, AI and other emerging technologies.
In just five years, hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) has established itself as an ideal technology for organizations grappling with the complexities of delivering new services rapidly, working with limited resources, managing data centers, moving to the cloud and preparing for the future.
Next-generation HCI eliminates scaling, performance, visibility and other issues that prevent some state and local governments from fully embracing HCI. As a stepping stone to the hybrid cloud and newer infrastructures, it helps pave the way for what Gartner describes as a “dynamic, composable and fabric-based” infrastructure that allows organizations to leverage and control data regardless of where it is. This infrastructure will allow agencies to flexibly, seamlessly and continuously deliver applications and services across cloud, on-premises or other platforms as business needs dictate. Ultimately, it will allow the rapid provisioning of the entire data center infrastructure to support applications, services and emerging technologies.
These capabilities will become increasingly important as state and local governments plan for a future that was once the stuff of science fiction. Technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), digital twins (digital representations of real-life, physical things such as city parks or hospitals) and blockchain (a method for authoritatively tracking and validating transactions, shipments, votes and other high-value things) have great promise in the public sector. State CIOs have already identified IoT and AI as being the most impactful areas of new technology in the next five years. Next-generation HCI provides the bridge to these revolutionary technologies. It will allow state and local governments to use them to meet their missions and help their citizens and communities thrive.
To take advantage of these seismic shifts and successfully implement next-generation HCI, government IT leaders need to:
In a 2018 survey, state and local government respondents ranked cloud services and consolidation/optimization as their top IT strategies (after cybersecurity). Next-generation HCI provides a foundation to move forward with these strategies and embrace technologies that are just beginning to show their promise in the public sector. The key to success is choosing the right solution and the right solution provider.
Choosing the right solution depends on the agency’s individual goals and requirements. Start by identifying the most important criteria for evaluating a solution (e.g., scaling and performance, cost, vendor stability), and then use a matrix to rate the solution in each area. In the long run, thorough research and good planning will ensure the best outcomes.
Apart from the technology itself, working with the right solution provider is critical. Next-generation HCI is a relatively new market and not all early pioneers will survive; vendors with well-established offerings in related areas have the financial, organizational and technological means to support and further develop the solution over the long haul. Besides deep technical expertise and experience in the public sector, the right provider has the ability to work outside of a legacy mindset and has a vision for moving into the future.
When choosing a solution provider, be sure to inquire about its track record for product support, the skill level of support staff and the types of support included in pricing. Also ask about its end-of-life policy for migrating data from current solutions to newer versions; data migration is one of the costliest storage-related expenses. Finally, evaluate the solution provider for its suitability as a long-term partner that offers mutually beneficial opportunities for collaboration, research and solution development tailored to your agency’s needs.