State, local agencies want better efficiency but face infrastructure challenges

While most state and local organizations plan to fully deploy data center consolidation, mobility, security, big data and cloud computing in the next three years, most agencies simply aren’t prepared for the resulting demands on their IT infrastructure.

According to a recent MeriTalk report underwritten by Brocade, 94 percent of respondents said that their agency is not prepared for the demands that data center consolidation, mobility, security, big data and cloud computing, called the Big Five, will place on their agency’s IT infrastructure.

The Big Five is alluring in the current budget environment because they improve performance, productivity and service, but for many state and local organizations, deploying the Big Five would result in moderate to significant network bottleneck risks (63 percent), and would create the need for additional network capacity to maintain current service levels (89 percent).

If agencies were to implement the Big Five now, 59 percent said that there would be security risks, 55 percent said there would be bandwidth limitations, 44 percent said there would be storage limitations, and 40 percent said there would be network latency.

Coordination is key to overcoming these challenges, with respondents saying that their agencies would benefit from increased efficiencies (72 percent), shared best practices (59 percent), and better decision making (58 percent).

There might be some miscommunication about the importance of the Big Five, however; 52 percent said their organizations senior leaders do not understand the combined impact of the Big Five on IT, and respondents called for clear prioritization from leadership (54 percent), regular coordination across initiatives (47 percent) and the standardization of documentation of infrastructure requirements (44 percent).

Despite these challenges, there is a distinct need for agencies to adopt the Big Five because if they do not, “both cost and risk will increase,” said Anthony Robbins, vice president Public Sector, Brocade. “Agencies can’t afford to wait, but without coordination and planning, network capacity will choke off any chance at delivering benefits.”

Forty-four percent did report that their agencies have already taken steps to improve security measures.

The full report is called, “Big Five in Overdrive: Are State and Local Networks Ready?"

About the Author

Mark Hoover is a senior staff writer with Washington Technology. You can contact him at, or connect with him on Twitter at @mhooverWT.

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