In our last post we introduced the concept of the New IP – the software-centric, open IT environment designed to support federal tech priorities like mobility and the cloud. Over a series of Federal Insights posts, we are putting together a checklist to help agencies make the shift to the New IP. Demanding open standards from technology providers is a critical first step to opening the doors to innovation through the New IP. What is next on the roadmap to the New IP?
IT infrastructure: Hardware or software based?
The greater Washington metropolitan region is expanding quickly. Rather than just adding a new lane on I-66 or a few additional stoplights, a new subway line was required as a more efficient way to support changes and growth in the region. Just like the transportation infrastructure federal IT executives use to get to work each day, the infrastructure that information travels on is in need of a transformational change. To support IT evolution, government network infrastructure needs a new solution – the software-defined network infrastructure that makes up the New IP.
The network is in many ways the last frontier for IT infrastructure innovation. A recent GAO report examining cloud spending found that just 2 percent of agency IT budgets were dedicated to the cloud in 2014. The report attributed limited savings in part to large investments in legacy infrastructure, which is often hardware-based and expensive to maintain. Government needs to do more than just fill potholes on legacy systems. Designed to work with virtualized environments, software-based technologies such as software defined networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) allow agencies to more efficiently utilize the benefits of cloud and mobile technologies. While cloud and mobile technologies increase network complexity, SDN helps to make networks manageable for IT administrators through automation and programmability. SDN networks can automatically reconfigure to address increasing traffic flows and other network changes.
Accelerated Ethernet fabric-based hardware that delivers high utilization, performance and resiliency will continue to play a dominant role for years to come in the IP network. Agencies need to ensure the hardware they choose will enable them to move to a software-defined network as they transition to the New IP.
If your agency wants to achieve the benefits of the New IP, developing a plan to transition to a more software-defined network environment is critical.
How does your agency stack against our checklist so far? Keep checking in to Federal Insights for the next item on our checklist.
If you missed our first post in the New IP series, learn about the impact of open standards here.
Learn more about the impact of the New IP and software-based technologies.