What to consider in a modern storage network

INDUSTRY INSIGHT

Stop the reliance on legacy IT: What to consider in a modern storage network

According to the Government Accountability Office, more than 75 percent of the federal government’s annual IT budget is spent on operations and maintenance -- largely because of agencies’ reliance on IT and systems that were designed and implemented decades ago.  Let’s face it: These maintenance costs will continue to increase until agency leaders prioritize modernization.

One element of legacy IT that is in severe need of modernization is the network. Most existing agency networks were not engineered to support today’s demands, limiting agencies’ abilities to leverage mobility, big data, the Internet of Things and other emerging innovations. For mission-critical IT functions, agencies require more of their networks in terms of reliability, high-performance access and secure modern storage.

Today, the network can deliver on those demands. Storage networks have undergone significant innovation and now offer the visibility, automation and the performance necessary to support storage innovation, such as flash. Agencies deserve a network that offers the following characteristics:

Complete visibility. Modern networks offer greater visibility, ensuring improved performance and reliability. They allow agencies to identify increased network traffic and hotspots before performance is affected, which helps ensure dependable access to government assets, be that national security information or citizen services.

Network visibility can also flag potential security concerns. Data movement can be tracked and abnormalities spotted to quickly detect a security breach occurring on the edge of a network. For agencies that handle citizen data and sensitive information pertaining to national security, this added layer of security is essential.    

Efficiency-driving automation. As a key component of intelligent storage networks, automation cuts storage network costs in half and improves reliability. By removing the risk of human error, automation can also reduce network downtime. Automation also plays an important role in increasing performance, because it selects the most efficient route for information without manual user intervention.

Performance for modern storage solutions. With the growing importance of big data, mobility and the IoT, agencies must find new approaches to storing the data these technologies generate.  Although flash storage can provide fast, efficient and reliable data access, agencies must have a storage network that can optimize a flash-based environment. Just as the speed of the world’s fastest sprinter would be restricted on a crowded city sidewalk, innovation has a limited impact on an old network. Modern networks based on the Fibre Channel storage protocol ensure that the performance of flash-based data centers are optimized to handle the agencies’ ever-increasing data demands.

The transition to modern IT is necessary but can be daunting. Laying a reliable network foundation that provides visibility, automation and performance will allow agencies to support technological innovation that will revolutionize the government’s ability to serve citizens and deliver on key missions.

About the Author

Steve Wallo is CTO at Brocade Federal.

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