Federal Update: Doing More with Less

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Federal Update: Doing More with Less

By Mark Weis

Federal agency data is growing at the same exponential rates seen in the commercial sector, and both sectors are experiencing similar challenges and opportunities when it comes to data storage. However, many governmental organizations have additional needs for security, reliability and availability to protect their sensitive and essential information.

Often times in election years, federal government agencies will hold off on large IT spending until after the election to see who wins and how that will impact the priorities of the government moving forward.

But regardless of the election, the federal government is still under scrutiny to watch expenses and lower IT costs and federal customers are challenged to do more with less. In addition, some existing data storage mandates are still moving forward and the course for these will be stayed.

As we head into the new federal fiscal year, here’s a look at some of the mandates and current events that will continue to impact data storage spending at the federal level:

Data Center Consolidation
Data center consolidation continues to be a high priority as we get closer to OMB’s 2015 deadlines. While some consolidation has already taken place, many federal agencies are looking at ways to optimize existing data centers.

Tape libraries are helping agencies accomplish both of these goals by providing an economical way to store data that reduces square footage and lowers IT energy use.
In addition, active archive solutions can increase the efficiency of the data center by providing businesses the benefit of simple, online access to all their institutional knowledge.

Cloud Computing
Big data places heavy demands on storage infrastructures. And when it comes to finding solutions to this problem, many system administrators have their heads in the clouds—literally.

The Office of Management and Budget’s “cloud-first” policy is forcing federal agencies to evaluate options for cloud computing and to consider placing more applications in the cloud. Due to advancements in backup and archive applications and hardware, tape libraries have emerged as a go-to source for cloud environments due to tape’s performance, reliability, features and attractive price point.

Both data center consolidation and cloud computing are among the top technology trends for 2013 identified by the Government Business Council in this recent Government Executive article: The 6 Biggest Federal IT Trends Coming in 2013.

Disaster Recovery
In light of Hurricane Sandy, another area that is at the forefront of many federal storage administrators’ minds is disaster recovery. Special data protection obligations of federal agencies are being driven by mandates such as Continuity of Operations (COOP) and disaster time-to-recovery requirements.

Improvements in tape and tape automation have made it a key component of a disaster recovery plan. Tape helps ensure data integrity and affordability and, when properly used with disk, offers advantages that disk alone cannot match.

Spectra Logic continues to be invested in resolving the special needs of our federal customers as they focus on secure data protection. Our technology can help drive down the overall cost of data storage per PB or TB. With more than three decades of experience in secure data storage solutions, we bring assurance and the latest innovations to federal IT departments in addressing their unique data protection requirements.

Look for us this week at the AFCEA North Carolina Symposium & Exposition, November 13-15, 2012 in Fayetteville, North Carolina.