As the digital age barrels forward, agency directors are putting efficiency above all, consolidating physical appliances with the help of converged server systems and kicking data center optimization efforts into high gear. While the benefits of virtualization and other resource-saving techniques have long been lauded by industry leaders and technologists across sectors, federal organizations are finally recognizing their potential in these high-stakes IT environments. Take note of the methods and tools employed in the most successful virtualization stories and discover how you can write your own.
Slimming down the data center
With more applications to power and greater volumes of information to store than ever before, data centers have expanded at unpredictable and rapid rates over the past several years. Because of the administrative and financial obstacles that arise as a result of these patterns, federal agencies are embracing converged infrastructure with open arms, leveraging the power of virtualization and newly-minted appliances developed for use in Web-scale IT environments. With these approaches have come massive savings in cost, energy, labor requirements and procurement time horizons.
According to a recent article from GCN, the Army Executive Office Aviation is a prime example of an organization fully committed to the virtual revolution - and enjoying positive outcomes across the board. The source explained that the agency extended its virtual desktop infrastructure to account for a wider variety of end user demands, as well as ramp up the complexity of the applications it can support with virtual machine instances. For example, PEO Aviation can now ensure performance and availability for resource-heavy programs such as those that power unmanned aircraft systems.
"Our VDI program has been hugely successful in terms of our ability to provide enhanced functionality and performance to our end users," said Alan Marett, server and network team lead for PEO Aviation, as quoted by the news source. "We have also significantly decreased our technology footprint, and the converged approach enables us to scale as required."
Deploying apps with confidence
While PEO Aviation has proven literally that the sky's the limit for virtualization, the Pentagon's approach to application deployment and patching is building the argument for VDI's security and consistency. A recent Federal Times article highlighted the vast and complex desktop layout of the national defense capitol, noting that management, monitoring and upgrades have become a growing challenge for IT leaders as the blueprint expands. Virtualization has offered a boost to both the cyber security and agility of these desktop resources, supporting over 50,000 physical workstations organization-wide.
"Typically it takes us two to three weeks when a security patch comes out to get the environment up to snuff, and we still always have cats and dogs where we don't get patches applied to the desktop," Tom Sasala, chief technology officer for the Army Information Technology Agency, told the source. "With VDI we can take a single master image, patch that and then test and recompose overnight."
In addition to securing these critical desktop environments, the Pentagon is also ensuring more efficient resource utilization and application performance by taking its VDI deployment to the next level. With more immediate and responsive upgrade capabilities and a reduced need for IT labor throughout the organization, decision-makers across the agency are enjoying lower total cost of ownership for their physical appliances and a more streamlined app deployment process.
Leverage expertise and guidance
Virtualization is catching on throughout the federal arena, and while the technology simplifies data center optimization in the long run, developing a VDI architecture from scratch requires consultation and assistance from an expert service provider. Consider teaming up with a proven VDI partner to ensure an effective, efficient initial deployment.