Research Report: The Virtual Public Sector

Virtualization, increasing data drive innovation


With the amount of data federal, state and local agencies must grapple with on the rise—and data storage taking a backseat to other agency IT expenditures—never has there been a more pressing need for innovative storage tools and architecture.

A survey of federal, state and local IT professionals undertaken by the 1105 Public Sector Media Group shows broad agreement among respondents as to the attributes that innovative storage technologies should possess.

Respondents were asked to identify how influential they deemed various benefits to be when their agency weighs different approaches to managing its enterprise storage. Based on the survey results, IT managers are looking innovative storage solutions that provide simplified management of IT infrastructure, increased data center efficiency and lower operating and capital costs.

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One option being considered by many respondents is a platform that combines compute and storage resources (see related article). Among those users, one of the chief attributes being sought is support virtualization (64 percent).

Innovation definitely is on the agenda, market researchers say.

In its report “Strategic Benchmarks 2014: Storage,” market research firm Forrester Research notes that it is no longer sufficient for organizations to continue to deploy more hardware to address their continually expanding storage needs.

Instead of buying bigger versions of their existing storage systems to solve long-term storage needs, organizations should explore innovative technologies, such as such as flash-based storage and object storage, which can boost performance while at the same time lowering costs, states the report.

“Object storage had created a new low-cost alternative for unstructured data, while flash is redefining expectations for high performance,” the Forrester report states.

Simply put, flash storage at the enterprise level involves the use of solid-state disks based on flash memory. Flash is becoming less expensive on a dollar-per-gigabyte basis than it was previously, and IT managers are deploying solid-state storage because it can deliver excellent performance and help them achieve a reduction in the amount of hardware deployed for storage purposes, the report states.

“Flash’s random access capabilities allow it to consolidate workloads that would cripple conventional disk-based systems, and this will increase virtual machine density in virtual desktop infrastructure and server virtualization deployments and other metrics beyond input/output operations per second performance,” the Forrester report states.

Object storage is a storage architecture that treats data as objects rather than as files or blocks as do other architectures. IT professionals see object storage as one that can complement and serve as a suitable replacement for existing network-attached storage and storage-area network systems, the Forrester report states.

“Hard pressed infrastructure and operations groups desire the high scalability and low maintenance of object storage and will use this technology to create unstructured data repositories,” the Forrester report states.

Methodology and survey demographics

Between February 21st and March 1st, 2014, 107 subscribers of FCW, GCN and other Public Sector Media Group publications responded to an e-mail survey about networking and storage trends in government agencies. Survey respondents were comprised of those involved with networking and storage operations for their department or agency. Beacon Technology Partners developed the methodology, fielded the survey and compiled the results.

Approximately 88% of respondents were technology decision-makers (CIOs or other IT managers or professionals), while 12 percent were senior managers, program managers or other business decision-makers. Approximately 67 percent came from the federal government (34 percent civilian, 33 percent defense) and 33 percent from state or local government agencies.

About this Report

This report was commissioned by the Content Solutions unit, an independent editorial arm of 1105 Public Sector Media Group. Specific topics are chosen in response to interest from the vendor community; however, sponsors are not guaranteed content contribution or review of content before publication. For more information about 1105 Public Sector Media Group Content Solutions, please email us at [email protected]