Feb 15 2023
Data Center

Why Modernizing IT Is a Top Priority for State and Local Governments

An up-to-date infrastructure stack can help government agencies reduce management burdens, boost application reliability and improve services for citizens.

With smaller technology teams and modest budgets, state and local governments face a never-ending battle when it comes to IT modernization.

According to NASCIO, legacy modernization is a top priority for state IT leaders in 2023, trailing only concerns about cybersecurity, digital government and the workforce. Also, 48 percent of state IT leaders indicate that the majority of their applications need to be modernized.

“Leaders in state and local government face a number of challenges in modernizing their IT environments,” says Andrew Wall, a senior solution architect with CDW. “In the corporate world, IT shops usually have direct control over their budgets, but in government, these leaders often need to get approval from committees made up of people who sometimes don’t even work with technology and don’t fully understand the need for more modern systems and infrastructure.”

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A Strong Need for IT Modernization in Government Agencies

Still, Wall says, it is important for IT leaders to make the case for modernization, especially in situations where existing infrastructure may not only be dated but may also put performance, security and the quality of citizen services in jeopardy. In some cases, he says, government agencies are still using infrastructure that has been unsupported by its manufacturer for years. “That’s a land mine waiting to explode,” Wall says. “Something catastrophic is going to happen. These organizations are at risk of losing their data, and they’re not even going to be able to get help from their vendors.”

Wall notes that every environment is different, but he urges state and local IT leaders to look closely at their networking, storage and server environments to identify areas of concern and prioritize investments in modernization. For instance, he says, some agencies are still getting by with 1-gigabit networking infrastructure. “That’s archaic, but it’s something that we still see from time to time,” Wall says. “We’re at the point where 10Gb is really the minimum, and you won’t be able to implement certain services and solutions with anything less than that. If you’re still on 1Gb, you’d better get off it.”

EXPLORE: CDW’s white paper “IT Modernization Provides Better Outcomes for Citizen Services.”

Why Advanced Technology Infrastructure Components Is a Must

Wall also recommends that agencies consider whether flash storage, hyperconverged infrastructure or public cloud resources might meet their needs better than their existing infrastructure. The public cloud, he notes, is often a better fit than on-premises infrastructure for latency-sensitive citizen-facing applications with variable demand. All-flash storage arrays have become more affordable and make sense for most agencies to use in their production environments, Wall says. (Less expensive archival storage can still be used for rarely accessed data, such as body camera footage, he notes.) And hyperconvergence can both improve scalability and reduce management burdens for government organizations.

“Ultimately, city and state leaders want to use technology to make life better for their citizens,” Wall says. “To do that, they need to ask themselves what data they have and what insights they want to get from that information. Getting to that level requires modernized infrastructure.”

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