It’s no secret that many federal agencies’ servers and networks are outdated and inefficient. They are unable to exploit the advantages of mobility, cloud, social networking, and big data analytics, limiting the ability of government agencies to effectively serve their constituents.
So how can agencies improve their network IT? Many private sector businesses are transitioning away from networks built on the same approach used by federal government, and moving towards an open, software-driven environment that simplifies network processes and reduces costs: the New IP Approach.
The New IP will allow agencies to develop flexible networks that are easy to adapt and cost effective; not to mention it meets the needs of federal employees and citizens.
This transition may sound simple but there are a few steps that need to be implemented to ensure a successful network modernization. Fortunately, in GovLoop’s recent online training, Advancing Your Network to Keep up with New Technology Demands, and Brocade’s recent whitepaper, The New IP Path to Network Modernization, topic experts discussed best practices for modernizing your agency’s network.
According to those experts, there are five suggestions to transitioning to network modernization:
Move to open standards. Standard-based products enable choice, which increases flexibility, while also reducing cost and complexity. Taking advantage of open standards allows agencies to become more agile, such as software-defined networking (SDN).
Implement a multi-vendor network. Because you can contract with multiple vendors to build your network, you enable the competition that controls costs and encourages the use of best-of-breed products.
Deploy Ethernet fabrics. This is a flattened architecture that simplifies networks by replacing traditional point-to-point relationships. Ethernet fabrics are very easy to deploy, with a plug-and-play procedure. They are also self-provisioning and self-healing, which enables scalability and reduces maintenance and training costs.
Initiate SDN. This type of networking abstracts data flow control from software in switch and router control planes, enabling administrators to create efficient, customized, network-wide data flows. Having the ability to control the way data flows through a network eases manageability, supports automation, and helps administrators quickly delivery services that enhance agency operations.
Leverage alternative procurement models. This vendor-neutral, requirements-based approach allows agencies to choose from a variety of solutions to meet their price, performance, and flexibility needs. Agencies can stretch resources by using an alternative “pay-as-you-go” approach that spends outgoing cost dollars (OpEx) as opposed to capital expenditures (CapEx) funds. This spending model offers cloud-like agility, allowing agencies to scale up and down, as needs change, without incurring upfront infrastructure costs.