Could federal IT work crash networks?

New report shows federal infrastructure not strong enough for anticipated load

In a Meritalk survey of 200 government IT decision makers,  84 percent of respondents indicated that the Big Five initiatives, if exercised today, would create bottlenecks because their network load would have to increase by a whopping 79 percent. A mere 12 percent suggested their infrastructure is robust enough to handle all five projects.

Dubbing the collective of federal IT efforts currently under way the “Big Five,” a report published Sept. 9 by MeriTalk found that the majority of agencies intend to deploy them within the next two years. The Big Five consist of massive undertakings: big data, cloud computing, datacenter consolidation, mobility and security.

Meritalk is an organization that bills itself as a public-private partnership focused on improving the outcomes of government IT.

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Based on its findings, MeriTalk expects an IT revolution of sorts between today and 2015, wherein 99 percent of respondents bulk up security, 92 percent embrace mobility, 90 percent embark on datacenter consolidation, 78 percent adopt big data practices and 76 percent turn to the cloud. 

For those pieces to fit together, though, federal network managers will have to transform almost half of their IT infrastructure, and most have yet to deploy the “initiatives with the biggest impact,” big data and cloud computing.

Making matters even thornier, agencies are not yet effectively coordinating their work on Big Five projects, MeriTalk explained. Only 35 percent are using a standardized process across all the efforts, only 31 percent said that leads for all five meet regularly to coordinate projects, and 35 percent have one senior executive in charge of all five.

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“Any single initiative would be a challenge,” the report explained, “five may bring networks to their knees.”