Why government data centres need to be modernised

However, governments need to analyse their environments and understand their needs before doing so, says Ashish Dhawan of Juniper Networks.

By Kareyst Lin
Nov. 25, 2016

There are four reasons why governments CIOs need to modernise their data centres, Ashish Dhawan, Vice President, Marketing - Asia Pacific, South East Asia, Juniper Networks, told delegates at the GCIO Forum 2016 in Singapore on 24 November.

Firstly, governments have to be ready for a new generation of digital workforce who are going to enter civil service. This generation is entirely digital, and the government has to make sure that the environment provided to them is conducive for them to conduct businesses their way, which is completely social and mobile-driven.  

The second reason is the rise of electronic identification (e-IDs) for citizens. According Dhawan, "the next generation of e-IDs won't be cards but completely biometric based." "Since storing high quality biometric data - be it thumbprints, retina scans or others - is a huge project in itself, making it available across government agencies [will be an even more challenging task]."

Government data centres must thus not only be able to store and make such information available whenever needed, but also secure it, which may not be possible without modernising the data centre.   

This ability is also important to support smart city projects, which leverages sensors that are collecting data every second. "[Modernising the data centre is important in order to enable governments to collect] the network data from smart city projects to be collected, stored and analysed," Dhawan said.

The final reason is the rise of cloud applications. "How do you make sure that there is cohesion between applications born in the cloud and your traditional applications? This is where the hybrid cloud comes in [as it allows] a seamless data exchange between both clouds," Dhawan explained.

He added that government CIOs should look at deploying software-defined networks (SDN) in their data centres to cater to the characteristics of the new applications. "The traffic panel of the new applications is east-west (ie. server to server) instead of north-south (ie. client to server).  That means that the virtual applications affect one another, rather than having one application going outside the data centre and then coming inside. SDN is able to vitualise the control and the data plan, making it easier to manage the network, [even with new applications]," he said.  

As a word of advice, Dhawan said that government CIOs should analyse their data centre environments and consider the end goals before modernising their data centres. For instance, they need to understand the kind of expenses they are incurring in their existing infrastructure, which applications can be hosted by public cloud or in-house, and how much their agency is willing to invest in virtualisation, before redefining their data centres. 

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