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Federal Insights

From cloud to the Internet of Things, digital transformation is catching hold in government. While agencies are becoming better at identifying new technologies to support their needs and are working with industry to find solutions to mission challenges, innovation isn’t just about technologies themselves. To effectively speed IT advances, agencies are now considering a DevOps methodology.


A recent study found 78 percent of federal IT professionals feel DevOps can accelerate innovation at their agency. DevOps is a culture of trust and collaboration in which people use the right tools for automation to achieve continuous delivery. As a result issues can be resolved in days rather than months.


How can agencies know if DevOps is right for them and how can they adapt?



It is no surprise that cybersecurity is a growing concern for the federal government. The most recent FISMA report reflects 77,000 successfully executed cyber incidents occurring in 2015, a number that has increased each year. Part of the growing challenge is due to the diverse and ever-expanding number of endpoints and data sources for agencies to secure, especially on government campuses. With this landscape as a backdrop, campus environments require a tailored approach to security and encryption due to their varied department needs and multiple physical locations. Here are traits to look for:


Solving the Defense Innovation Puzzle with AFCEA

by Phil.O.Reilly on ‎10-31-2016 11:44 AM (1,076 Views)

What do GPS, computers and duct tape have in common? Each of these inventions, at least two of which influence our lives daily, were created for the U.S. military, one of the world’s greatest drivers for innovation.


Organizations like the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) help the defense community stay ahead as a technology leader. The type of ingenuity that revolutionizes IT starts with people, problems and ideas. It’s an unavoidable reality that the defense community has problems to solve. AFCEA brings together the other two pieces of the puzzle – people and ideas – with some of the greatest minds from the military community, industry and academia. In turn this creates a platform to drive the next great invention.


With this in mind, Brocade Federal is looking forward to helping drive tomorrow’s defense IT innovation with my appointment to AFCEA’s Executive Committee of the Board of Directors. AFCEA serves the military community by creating collaborative opportunities that can help identify technologies to better support service men and women. As a part of the organization’s executive committee, there are great opportunities for pursuing these objectives – starting with digital transformation and the network.



Government IaaS spending increased 53 percent from 2012 to 2015, according to a recent report from Govini. IDC Government Insights reported growth in IaaS, PaaS and SaaS spending in 2015. Government is seeing big benefits in acquiring IT as-a-service and investing accordingly. What needs to be considered more frequently in the as-a-service movement? Agencies are looking to the network.


Agencies currently spend more than 70 percent of their IT budget maintaining legacy IT systems and technology. Yet at the same time, they are under pressure to modernize systems – with nearly $3 billion worth of IT systems expected to become outdated over the next three years. These challenges don’t have to be at odds. Network subscription models allow agencies to invest in new network technology with more readily available OpEx dollars.


Public sector innovators are overcoming network challenges by acquiring capabilities through network as-a-service or subscription models. Leaders in the defense and healthcare communities explored some of the benefits and challenges of the model in a recent FedInsider webinar. What were some of the key takeaways?


From the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) to increased virtualization, agencies today are presented with great possibilities - and faced with complex network demands. Despite the availability of networking technology capable of handling digital transformation’s network pressures, many agencies continue to operate on aging, legacy networks as a result of damaging network acquisition practices and agency acceptance of the status quo.


How are network acquisition processes limiting innovation? A recent Forrester report outlined eight toxic network vendor selection practices and flagged warning signs that managers are failing to pursue the best solutions for their needs. These toxic behaviors are impacting the ability to leverage cloud, consolidate data centers and increase the efficiency of IT. They do so by adding risk to projects and programs, thus restricting mission outcomes and the services provided. The issues reflected are largely relevant in federal government, but can be remediated by strong leadership, open standards and refreshed workforce expectations.




How to Create a Smart City: Start with Strong WiFi and New IP Networks

by selina.lo ‎09-26-2016 10:41 AM - edited ‎09-26-2016 01:16 PM (2,196 Views)

I recently had the privilege of speaking at a White House organized event that highlighted the importance of government next-generation wireless access. In partnership with U.S. Ignite and the National Science Foundation (NSF), the federal government is investing $400 million in what they call the Advanced Wireless Research Initiative, meant to advance research in the journey to 5G and next-generation wireless technology.


Innately affordable and offering speeds of up to a gigabit per second, Wi-Fi is both accessible and efficient. Ruckus Wireless, recently acquired by Brocade, delivers on the need for dependability, even in radio frequency (RF) challenged environments, through adaptive antenna technology.


One of the most revolutionary applications of next-generation wireless infrastructure is within smart cities. High performance Wi-Fi access and analytics allow municipalities to improve everything from guest Internet access to foot and commuter traffic patterns to first responder efficiency. For example, cities can leverage Wi-Fi infrastructure to collect footfall analytics, which can predict commuter wait times, feed them to a train-scheduling algorithm and improve city traffic and efficiency. First responders, on the other hand, can leverage Wi-Fi for speedy analytics to receive information about an accident before they reach the scene.


The Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) plays an important role in the military community by creating a forum for defense and industry collaboration that helps identify effective technologies to support our service men and women. Like many organizations serving the public and private sector, technology plays a central role in meeting AFCEA’s goals and reaching its members.


With aging infrastructure based on proprietary standards, AFCEA recognized the need for a network upgrade. The organization had three primary network demands - greater network flexibility, heightened visibility and security, and, moving into the future, a higher bandwidth environment. To address these demands AFCEA partnered with Brocade to transition to a New IP network.


Digital technologies are transforming consumers’ every day lives. Today’s citizens, warfighters and veterans expect a government that can provide the same on-demand digital services. Empowered by digital transformation, warfighters can retrieve critical geospatial intelligence and enable successful mission completion at the push of a button and doctors can identify patterns in health data that can pinpoint whether a veteran is prone to contracting a specific illness.  


To enable such innovation, government must first be able to easily purchase these technologies and the infrastructure necessary to support them. Yet in many cases the current IT acquisition process limits advancement. For example, not all agencies conduct the tailored market research necessary for each unique RFP, potentially costing government. Additionally, RFP requirements frequently specify a solution or vendor, rather than a statement of needs, desired capabilities, functions, and or service levels linked to mission outcomes.


IT Modernization & Open Standards Command Attention at Federal Forum

by tceleste ‎07-06-2016 05:54 AM - edited ‎07-06-2016 06:43 AM (1,385 Views)

A technology revolution is happening. This was the focus of conversation as Lloyd Carney, Brocade CEO, welcomed attendees to the 2016 Federal Forum, highlighting the intersection of innovation and taking action to modernize federal networks. According to Carney, adoption of software-defined networks and New IP network architecture is inevitable as government scales its infrastructure to accommodate digital transformation.



At Brocade’s Federal Forum, government and industry will come together to discuss how new, innovative technologies will change the way the federal government serves citizens and warfighters through network modernization and the concept of the New IP. Many of the conversations at Federal Forum will focus on the possibilities modernization enables, but what does this mean in action? What does the technology look like?


To answer these questions, keynotes, breakouts and panel sessions will be coupled with a series of demonstrations in the Technology Pavilion. The Technology Pavilion will showcase advancements in network management and data visibility and provide an interactive experience that can be tailored to fit specific interests and questions from visitors to the Pavilion. Those who attend can expect to explore various aspects of software-defined networking (SDN), network security, high-performance analytics technology and much more.


2016 will mark the fifth year government and industry leaders have come together to discuss IT infrastructure modernization, emerging tech trends and more at the 2016 Federal Forum, presented by Brocade.


For those with a greater interest in the technologies impacting government, the tech track provides a deeper level of insight. The tech track complements the technology pavilion and is designed specifically for techies, covering topics like network security, software-defined networking and DevOps.


As we prepare to take a deeper dive into network modernization at the Forum, here’s a preview of three key conversations that will frame the technical track.



Agencies are being asked to deliver more innovation and accelerate the pace innovation at a time when more than 71 percent of IT spending is going towards maintaining legacy IT systems. This imbalance is inhibiting government’s ability to move towards a secure and agile environment. Government must adopt a modernization strategy to reduce the funds required for IT maintenance and to fully take advantage of transformative technologies like cloud, big data, mobile, and the Internet of Things.


How should agencies get started? Find out at the 2016 Federal Forum.


Technological advances in all areas across the federal government have changed the way agencies work and interact with citizens. For government agencies to keep pace with technological innovation, network modernization and a transition away from hardware-centric data centers must be a top priority.


Hardware-centric legacy data centers were not built to keep pace with the needs of modern IT and make provisioning new technology slow, expensive, and error-prone. This hinders innovation in the era of mobile, social, cloud, and big data and may even lead employees to turn elsewhere for services when delays and other issues prohibit productivity.


California’s Department of Water Resources (DWR) is one example of an organization that was prohibited by its legacy networks and found a solution through a Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC). Challenges managing data center security policies and enabling efficient network provisioning negatively impacted DWR employees’ abilities to quickly access the applications they needed to do their jobs. The challenges faced by DWR are all too common in agencies across the federal government, as well.



The Case for 1,000 Data Centers

by Anthony Robbins on ‎05-12-2016 12:15 PM (1,537 Views)

Awareness of the need for data center consolidation has come a long way since 2010 when the Office of Management and Budget launched the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative (FDCCI). However, while there is no lack of conversation on the issue, measurable results have been limited and the number of centers in operation has only increased.


The good news is that data center consolidation efforts have generated considerable savings over time – an estimated $2.8 billion from 2011 to 2015 according to recent GAO reports. Yet the same report stated that of the 10,584 data centers in operation, only 3,125 were closed in 2015 - revealing missed opportunities for greater savings. The benefits of consolidated, optimized data centers are tremendous: application effectiveness, programmatic control, security and data integrity, elasticity and scalability, and automation. All of these ensure agencies have a robust data center architecture that meets their current and future requirements.


Current directives like the recently released Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI) support CIOs and agency leaders. The initiative requires agencies to not only report on their data consolidation efforts, but also optimize existing technology infrastructure and transition to more efficient options, such as cloud. The DCOI provides actionable guidance and places a freeze on new data centers. CIOs are now more empowered and driven to reduce government’s data center count to 1,000.


Government networks now face a multitude of users demanding access to massive amounts of data, but they’re losing steam trying to keep up.


The legacy frameworks propelling them forward aren’t getting any more capable, either. But through a revolutionary networking practice called the New IP, limited and wasteful networks can transform into open networks — and they can do it now.


Security Services Abstraction via Software Defined Paradigm

by walkerj ‎02-08-2016 08:31 AM - edited ‎02-08-2016 10:29 AM (3,022 Views)

The recent explosion of connected devices, big data and cloud computing has led to revolutionary changes in our use of technology. While these innovative technologies have unleashed unparalleled possibilities for government agencies, they have also seriously threatened network security. Every new piece of technology added to the network – from sensors, to laptops, to cloud datacenters, to mobile phones – is a new endpoint that has the potential to be compromised.




Securing the Future of U.S. Digital Infrastructure

by Anthony Robbins ‎01-18-2016 08:52 AM - edited ‎01-18-2016 09:18 AM (4,579 Views)

On December 9, 2015 industry leaders from Brocade, AT&T, General Motors and Facebook joined senior officials from the federal government, including U.S. CIO Tony Scott, to discuss one of the most pressing issues facing our nation, the Future of U.S. Digital Infrastructure.


Federal Partner Kickoff 2016: Paving the Way for the New IP

by jmuscare ‎01-11-2016 09:11 AM - edited ‎01-11-2016 09:14 AM (3,456 Views)

On December 3, the Brocade Federal Team joined forces with our strategic partners for the 2016 Federal Partner Kickoff. In collaboration with industry colleagues from VAR, Eco-System, and FSI communities we discussed Brocade’s direction for 2016, as well as upcoming trends in federal networking technology. 


Debunking the Myths of Network Modernization

by tony.celeste ‎11-17-2015 07:09 AM - edited ‎11-17-2015 07:10 AM (5,682 Views)

“The modernization of the IT environment of the federal government has to be one of our highest priorities,” Federal CIO Tony Scott said this summer at the Brocade Federal Forum. “We’re going to have to replace large parts of what we have because [existing network architecture] just was never designed for the mission and for the challenges that we face today.”


Improving Agency IT with FITARA

by tony.celeste ‎11-09-2015 07:10 AM - edited ‎11-09-2015 07:11 AM (2,680 Views)

The Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) is poised to support big changes in federal IT. A recent survey found that 79 percent of feds believe FITARA will positively affect the way IT is viewed at their agency by helping CIOs improve communication, making IT leaders more accountable and reinforcing their positions as integral and critical stakeholders.




After this summer’s high profile OPM breach, there’s no question that cyber attacks are affecting the federal government with an alarming frequency. According to the Government Accountability Office, data breaches at government agencies involving personal data have jumped 91 percent over the past eight years. This Cybersecurity Awareness Month, it’s time to consider all elements of a secure environment – starting with the network.


Brocade Network Subscription and the New IP

by bob4BNS on ‎09-28-2015 09:53 AM (4,470 Views)

Cloud, mobile, big data and other emerging technologies have forever altered American citizens’ expectations of government IT. To meet these expectations, the federal government must make network modernization a priority.


The Necessity of Network Modernization Part II: The Role of Open Standards

by Anthony Robbins ‎08-26-2015 11:16 AM - edited ‎08-26-2015 01:53 PM (4,271 Views)

In my first post on our recently published white paper, the Necessity of Network Modernization, I explored how SDN, NFV and Ethernet fabrics – key New IP technologies - can enable cost savings and innovation. In this post, I’ll delve into another aspect highlighted in the white paper – the role of open standards.


The IT industry is on the cusp of a paradigm shift away from closed, proprietary standards to open standards - and the federal government is beginning to appreciate the need for such a shift. In fact, a recent Brocade survey found that 90 percent of federal IT decision makers believe open standards are an important part of the future of IT.


Network modernization is more than a buzzword. It is a real, mission-critical endeavor central to the goals of every federal agency. It is also one that, if left ignored, will have huge ramifications.


Last month at the Federal Forum in Washington, D.C., I joined Brocade’s industry partners and the government’s leading IT decision makers to discuss how new, exciting technologies are changing the way our government serves the American citizenry, enables warfighters and meets the demands of a growing list of stakeholders.


Agencies today are being asked to do a lot with their data. With information generated by new sources - from social media outlets to mobile devices - agencies must store, monitor, organize, access, and, most importantly, make sense of data in a way that allows them to best serve the American citizenry.


The data center is the eye of this data storm, and it’s essential that IT leaders have the best tools at their disposal to ensure information flows seamlessly throughout the network. These tools go beyond technology alone and must also include a strategic approach to acquisition planning.




The CIO of the Future

by Anthony Robbins ‎05-13-2015 08:18 AM - edited ‎05-13-2015 11:18 AM (4,906 Views)

As federal agencies rapidly transition into a new age of cloud, security, mobile, social and big data-driven information technology solutions, agency CIOs are finding that their roles are changing as well. The recently passed Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) has the ability to inspire a profound change as it impacts the role of the CIO. The CIO of the Future is no longer simply an IT manager or a political role with little designated authority, but a strategic advisor with a role more similar to that of an enterprise CIO. As IT becomes the centerpiece of agency missions and activities, the CIO is becoming an essential part of agency leadership.



Budget Constraints, Network Performance Top Government’s List of Security Barriers

by walkerj ‎04-27-2015 08:37 AM - edited ‎04-27-2015 10:24 AM (4,123 Views)

With breaches affecting government entities from the White House to the Department of State, high profile security incidents have dominated headlines over the past year. According to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT) recognized more than 46,000 security incidents in 2013. With these issues in mind, it comes as no surprise that a recent Market Connections survey of federal IT decision makers and influencers found that only 26 percent of agencies feel their network data is fully protected. 


Internet of the Things You Can Do in Government IT

by Anthony Robbins on ‎04-01-2015 06:46 AM (4,248 Views)

The Internet of Things is making a huge impact on the public sector and changing the role of everyday devices, from watches to thermometers. As government’s understanding of the IoT expands, agencies are now thinking in terms of what they can do as a result of these connected devices. This is what we define as the “Internet of Things You Can Do.”


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