January 11, 2023
IT Modernization for State and Local Government in 2023
As we enter a new year, IT leaders in state and local government should assess their environment’s ability to meet current and future needs.
We all know that state, local and county governments don’t have the same IT budgets as Fortune 500 companies have, and that IT leaders in government organizations live by the mantra “do more with less.” Still, there comes a point when existing infrastructure is simply outdated, and governments that don’t modernize their environments are putting their performance, security and citizen services at risk.
Here are four modernization areas that IT leaders in state, local and county government should consider for the year ahead.
Time to Switch to Hyperconverged Infrastructure
Compared with traditional three-tier data center infrastructure, hyperconverged infrastructure is much more scalable and easier to manage. Whereas traditional infrastructure can take weeks to be delivered and deployed, with HCI, IT shops can quickly add nodes to expand capacity. This allows governments to not only scale their IT operations, but also rightsize their environments to avoid costly overprovisioning.
For many state and local IT leaders, the simplified management of HCI is a top draw. Agencies with small IT staffs need to reduce “keep the lights on” management burdens and redirect their attention to more strategic projects.
I’m not here to tell you that every state and local agency needs the world’s fastest network. But we’re now at the point where anything less than a 10 gigabits per second is really antiquated and could lead to problems.
Some people — perhaps most — will read that last sentence and say, “Well, obviously.” Still, it’s not all that rare for me to see government organizations try to get by on 1Gbps infrastructure. It’s time for these organizations to modernize.
Flash Storage Is Affordable and Offers Better Performance
The question is no longer “Why flash?” For some time now, it’s been “Why not?”
The price of all-flash arrays has come down enough that this should really be the starting point for any conversation about storage. Flash has greater density, superior performance and fewer moving parts compared with spinning-disk storage. Maintenance costs typically diminish over time, and the ability to reduce the amount of duplicate data is attractive to many IT leaders.
Some organizations continue to use storage infrastructure that has aged out of support for years, and while this has obvious short-term cost benefits, it is also a land mine waiting to explode. It’s time for those organizations to move to flash for their production environments. The one scenario where I’d recommend less expensive spinning disks? Archival storage for data such as body camera footage.
Agencies Continue Moving to the Cloud
Lately, I’ve started to see some cloud holdouts in state and local government make the move to vendors such as Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services for certain citizen-facing applications. In many instances, these organizations have experienced issues with connectivity to their data centers, resulting in app outages or slowdowns. By moving these applications to the public cloud, IT leaders no longer need to worry about unpredictable performance or problems with scaling their solutions.
In 2023 and beyond, I know that IT leaders in state and local government will continue to be frugal and resourceful. But it’s important not to be penny-wise and pound-foolish. If systems or infrastructure are likely to cause problems that prevent agencies from meeting their missions, it’s better for IT leaders to say, “Out with the old, in with the new,’ and deploy technology that will serve them well into the future.
Story by Andrew Wall, a senior solution architect with CDW. He works with customers designing enterprise data center solutions to keep data and applications available to the business. He currently supports corporate, healthcare, and state and local customers. His primary focuses are virtualization, business continuity, data protection and archiving.