Even with digital government initiatives at an all-time high, many state and local agencies are struggling with how to turn those initiatives into concrete digital services. True successes are sporadic and scattered throughout agencies. The majority continue to encounter a variety of roadblocks that prevent them from realizing full digital government maturity. These include:
Most state and local agencies are working with compute, storage and networking infrastructure of various ages and capabilities. While these technologies are often good enough for some internal workloads and processes, they can be inadequate for the type of high performance, availability and speed necessary to deal with digital demand. These legacy architectures often result in reduced data visibility, complexity and the inability to expand beyond existing – often rigid – service delivery models. Existing infrastructure also can be expensive and complex to maintain, operate and secure.
Internal IT expertise
For many agencies, IT staff are stretched thin and it is increasingly difficult to replace them, especially when competing with the private sector for scarce talent. This makes it difficult to keep legacy infrastructure running, adopt new technologies and ensure security.
States and municipalities have many responsibilities and goals, and they must prioritize these with limited budgets. Budget is a big issue; the National Association of Counties, for example, forecasts $202 billion in budget impacts as a result of revenue loss and increased spending throughout 2021. The National League of Cities projects a $360 billion revenue loss over the next three years. With decreased budgets, digital government initiatives compete with other priorities, including cybersecurity and risk management, boosting cloud services, improving broadband and wireless connectivity, and so on.
Solution: HCI-Based Digital Services
Despite challenges, digital government remains an important mission for all government agencies. Getting there efficiently cost-effectively and smoothly requires a more modern, flexible and secure infrastructure that incorporates both private and public clouds. This model, called a hybrid cloud infrastructure (HCI), brings together storage, compute and networking infrastructure. When that combined infrastructure is closely coupled with and managed by software, it becomes less complex and easier to manage, with more robust performance and flexibility. It’s also much more cost-effective.
“With the HCI approach, agencies don’t have to invest in a huge capital expenditure like they would if they were building an entire data center,” said Harsha Kotikela, Head of Industry Solutions, State and Local Government at Nutanix. “Instead of having to plan for a specific amount of storage, compute and networking, even if you might not use it immediately, you can build what you need now and add another stack like Lego blocks as requirements change.”
Take the example of applying for a car registration online. With an HCI infrastructure behind the scenes, a user can access their state’s Department of Motor Vehicles website and enter their information. On the back end, the data travels to either a private or public cloud, where it is authenticated by comparing it to existing information. The system is quick and painless, providing the user with a good experience.
HCI infrastructure works just as well for remote government workers. Remote workers can access their desktops either via a virtual desktop infrastructure or desktop-as-a-service. In both cases, workers must log in and be authenticated before accessing government resources or their own desktops. Those government resources are typically stored in either a private or public cloud. With HCI behind the scenes, remote workers can securely access the resources they need to be productive while working from home, and agencies will be ready to move to a hybrid model that includes a mix of working from home and at the office.
This article is an excerpt from our recent report, “Laying the Foundation for Effective Digital Government.” Download the full report here.