Federal shutdown highlights need for network automation amid the trend toward doing more with less in IT

The Uplogix CTO offers an editorial on the overlooked
importance of network automation in federal initiatives
for data center consolidation and the cloud.

With the current federal shutdown, many federal employees are on furlough, yet essential operations continue. For IT groups, this is an expansion of the current trend of being asked to do more with less. Much of the focus in federal IT is on consolidation of data centers and cloud technologies for federal applications, but in a recent editorial Uplogix founder and CTO James Dollar warns that one area being overlooked is the network itself.

Centralization of information relies on robust connections for data and applications, and without reliable network management automation, the cost savings of high profile projects might be lost if traditional network management techniques are applied.

When it comes to providing faster, stronger networks, network management tools are getting better, but only incrementally because they still rely on trained humans to actually do most of the work. Dollar says real network management automation hasn’t taken off because of the basic issue that tools are still dependent on the network to manage the network. As a result, they are pretty much limited to reactive tasks like monitoring, dashboarding and analysis.

“Until IT groups move beyond this fundamentally flawed approach, they won’t be able to realize automation savings,” said Dollar in the editorial. “Just “keeping the lights on” for the network will continue to consume upwards of 50% of IT’s resources.”

By de-coupling the management of the network from the network itself, Dollar says, great gains can be made toward reducing the human effort required while providing the resilient networks needed for the success of cloud and other cost saving initiatives.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a study that said about $55 billion of the $80 billion spent on federal IT goes toward steady state systems, while $25 billion goes to new development. Industry analyst Gartner says that typically infrastructure and operations spending accounts for about 50% of total IT headcount. Improving automation can free up substantial resources for cost reductions, new innovations, and even keeping the lights on during a government shutdown.

For more information about federal applications for Uplogix Local Management, please see www.uplogix.com/federal.



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