The Federal Government Puts SteelFusion to Good Use — and So Should You

September 2, 2015 Software-Defined Edge

Riverbed’s Jim Adcox knows the U.S. federal government’s needs better than most. As a storage-solutions architect his job is to help government agencies achieve very large-scale operational goals. Recently, the hyper-converged infrastructure of Riverbed SteelFusion™ has been key to fulfilling more and more of these needs.

SteelFusion harnesses the cloud

It’s tempting to think of the Federal Government as unique. But, as Adcox knows, it operates much like any other large-scale enterprise, just with a slightly different mission in mind!

Like everyone else, they’re pushing to cut costs, consolidate operations, and boost security. Their solution: the cloud, whether it be private, public, or some combination of both.

“A lot of federal government organizations have already started to implement a cloud-first strategy,” says Adcox. “But to get there, first they have to centralize everything to key locations, which accomplishes three things: It allows them to lower overall operational costs; it makes them better able to virtualize services; and it gives them better security by bringing the data back into central locations. SteelFusion is a very natural fit to both enable and achieve those goals.”

Cost-slashing efficiencies

Like all organizations, the government is constantly looking to cut costs. Through the enablement of centralized management and data protection, and the deployment of a hyper-converged platform, SteelFusion can enable those large organizations to offer all the functionality and services required by any remote worker or branch office in the world. The best part: It requires no local staff or infrastructure, which Riverbed calls “Zero Branch IT.”

“Zero Branch IT slashes the cost of local administration and support (boots on the ground) of remote sites,” says Adcox. “When something breaks, IT doesn’t have to fly out a staffer for a service call. They manage it from the datacenter, which is vastly more efficient and cost-effective, if not as fruitful in terms of frequent-flyer miles.”

The right infrastructure in the right place

The U.S. Department of Defense operates in locations scattered across the globe. These far-flung locations can be very dynamic, with new risks liable to emerge at any moment.

“We’ve all heard of incidents in locations that are hard to get people into, difficult to secure, and challenging to support from an IT standpoint. To give you an example, it can take two months to get a piece of equipment from a U.S. facility to a federal location in a foreign country. Two months!”

With SteelFusion, the Department of Defense can project apps and data to locations across the globe, with zero IT requirements in the remote location. With no need for distant staff to service or maintain the infrastructure, two months can turn into minutes. And once a new piece of hardware is in place, the site can be provisioned remotely from the datacenter within minutes.

What’s more, SteelFusion’s ability to project infrastructure from a central datacenter also lets IT repurpose any given appliance as objectives or missions change, which can be crucial for government agents in the field.

“I’ve worked with [military employees] who routinely required huge amounts of equipment to accomplish their missions,” says Adcox. “They were having to carry literal file cabinets, entire racks of equipment with them into the field. We were able to consolidate it all down to a very small environment about one-sixth the size. And when you’re jumping out of helicopters, that really matters.”

Secure and fast virtualization

It goes without saying: Security is a primary concern for the government. By using SteelFusion to centrally manage data and project it out as needed, the government maintains top-flight security and high-quality performance for remote users.

“In the past, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) didn’t work very well,” says Adcox. “Anywhere over about 70 milliseconds of latency started to erode its usefulness. With SteelFusion, forget 70 milliseconds — we can make VDI useful at 2 seconds of latency.”

This sea change in VDI performance has been a major game changer for the federal government, completely altering the dynamics of securing data and being able to operate in environments they’d never been able to operate in before.

“Through the combination of built-in [Riverbed] SteelHead™ WAN optimization, working together with integrated branch-optimized virtualization and storage delivery technologies, SteelFusion allows the VDI to be projected out to the edge,” says Adcox, “SteelFusion solves 100% of the issues related to latency and VDI, making it the first solution to ever accomplish this.”

One size serves all

Whether your enterprise is as vast as the federal government or slightly more modest in size, SteelFusion can help you achieve operational cost savings, rapid service deployment, and instant recovery, all while providing unmatched data protection. And in today’s fast-paced and competitive world of business, who can really say they don’t need all of those things?

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