It’s hard to believe that there is an organization out there that isn’t looking to streamline operations, cut costs and increase reliability in the data center, but government agencies have a particularly big stake in the matter. For one thing, agencies need to ensure that their constituents can get what they need, when they need it; for another, the government has mandated that agencies take a cloud-first, consolidate-whenever-possible approach to IT.
Enter converged architecture, which agencies are increasingly leaning on to deliver services and information in a secure and efficient manner.
Chris Steel, chief solutions architect at Software AG Government Solutions, a software provider for the U.S. federal government, said converged architecture continues to gain momentum as agencies turn to vendors to simplify and optimize the application stacks they provide.
“Gone is the day where agencies believe they can reduce cost by buying and managing their own hardware and OS to host applications provided by vendors and systems integrators,” says Steel. “They now warmly embrace the convergent architecture of hardware and software that provides the optimized solutions their mission requires.”
Converged architecture also frees up IT staff to work on strategic initiatives rather than things like server setup and provisioning.
“[Agencies] no longer require the additional in-house expertise needed to understand and tune the application to the hardware available--it has been done for them,” says Steel.
While converged architecture has been shown to deliver on its promise across a wide range of industries and organization sizes, says Steel, “there is a new set of challenges that come along with the magic of a convergent architecture.”
With all that said, companies that are implementing--or thinking about implementing--converged architecture should consider that introducing any new hardware and software brings new security issues. For example, says Steel, “each converged application stack has its own security profile and requires its own patch management strategy with its own set of interdependencies. For applications that are continually maintained by the provider, this is not a huge issue, but for most agencies that end up maintaining the applications in-house, it can be a serious strain on resources.”
Steel also recommends that agencies work closely with vendors to understand the in-house resources that will be needed for day-to-day monitoring and management.
“To this end,” says Steel, “agencies will need to converge more with their vendors and S.I.s up front to ensure that the converged architecture built for their agency can be managed and maintained by agency resources.”
Do you work for a government agency? What special considerations do you have when it comes to evaluating and implementing converged architecture? Please let us know in the comments section below.