When it comes to helping federal agencies with their data management challenges partnerships are vital to success.  Partners work in concert to create best in class solutions that tackle complex mission challenges with complex data requirements according to David Drahozal, Senior Director U.S. Public Sector Channel Sales, at NetApp.

In a conversation following NetApp’s Federal Partner Executive Retreat, which brings together senior leaders from NetApp’s top performing partners, Drahozal emphasized the importance of partnerships as federal agencies grapple with how to transition to the cloud and how to manage data following migration.  “The more flexibility that agencies can build into their cloud migration plans, the more mobile their data is, and the more ways in which agencies can use their data helps them to deliver on the mission,” Drahozal shared.

With more cloud-based storage environments and more types of storage media, including the latest generation all-flash arrays, it’s vital that federal IT leaders understand what options are available and what will best suit their needs.  “Data is the new digital currency,” said Drahozal. “If you don’t know which media to choose, or whether you need a private cloud, cloud-adjacent storage, or a hybrid environment, you risk squandering that currency,” he continued.

By partnering with a data authority federal IT leaders are able to get a 360 degree of data management options and identify the ones that will best support mission goals.  “There are a lot of new data management solutions becoming available right now,” Drahozal shared.  In particular, he noted that on-demand storage and hyper converged infrastructure (HCI) are two areas of innovation that federal agencies, with their notoriously tight budgets should begin to investigate.

As its name suggests, on demand storage means that you only pay for the storage that you need at any given moment.  “The pay-as-you-go model is well-suited to federal agencies and other organizations that have private clouds and allocated operating expenses for cloud services and data consumption,” Drahozal shared.  “Users can avoid large upfront capital expenditures and can scale storage up and down depending on need, avoiding overage charges, or wasted resources.”

Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI) introduces similar flexibility to federal agencies in search of data management solutions.  “HCI is built upon the idea of simplicity,” said Drahozal, “it brings together storage, compute, and networking capabilities into a single piece of hardware.”  Drahozal was quick to illustrate that new HCI solutions are not the same as first generation solutions that purported to offer flexibility and scalability but often fell short. How does this next-generation HCI differ from the old school version?  “NetApp’s HCI will leverage SolidFire all-flash storage and NetApp Data Fabric technology that will seamlessly link on-premise and cloud storage, and address these legacy issues, customer pain points, and simplify data and infrastructure management,” Drahozal noted.  “NetApp’s HCI is built upon the ability to guarantee performance, flexibility, and scale by scaling compute and storage resources independently, and allows IT Departments to be more agile by quickly deploying using the NetApp Deployment Engine.”

With such complex challenges ahead, federal agencies will certainly be well served by developing strong partnerships with authorities that can address not just data storage, but the entire spectrum of data management challenges.  While next-generation technology offerings are definitely part of being a leader in the field, understanding how to address complexities and bringing the right team to the table is a far stronger indicator of a successful outcome.