Government agencies are seeking a better way to access, store and process data closer to where it is being created and consumed, whether that is in a data center, branch location, cloud environment or at the edge where devices connect to the network.
To meet this evolving need, CenturyLink recently unveiled a new managed storage service built on NetApp’s software-defined storage technology that allows government agencies to store and manage data anywhere the CenturyLink network can reach.
CenturyLink Network Storage (CNS) powered by NetApp was designed to extend the benefits of cloud storage to the edge, enabling state and local agencies to create storage wherever data is created and consumed to power near real-time decisions and enable better citizen experiences.
CNS has gained traction with a broad range of public sector organizations seeking to support data mobility and storage at the edge by placing storage in the network, within milliseconds of an organization’s data. Recently, CenturyLink and NetApp made it easier for state and local government agencies to benefit from the solution by offering it on the National Association of State Procurement Officials (NASPO) ValuePoint cloud contract, a contracting consortium that competitively solicits contracts among state Chief Procurement Officials to help ensure state government agencies find needed solutions at fair prices.
CNS with NetApp delivers access to enterprise-grade storage wherever it is needed, along with the flexibility to be deployed on-premises, in a preferred colocation facility, at a CenturyLink facility, or delivered anywhere the CenturyLink network goes. The closer data centers are located to data created by devices at the edge of the network, the lower the latency and the better the customer experience.
“With the huge growth in telework, multi-cloud environments and the Internet of Things, government agencies are struggling to manage all the data produced by these ever-expanding digital interactions,” said Sonia Ramsey, CenturyLink vice president for the state and local government and education market. “CenturyLink and NetApp teamed up to deliver secure storage and transport capabilities closer to where the data is located, thus reducing processing times and providing better support for smart city, smart transportation and public safety initiatives.”
“The public sector is navigating through unique challenges when it comes to data at the edge,” said Meghan Steele, Senior Director, State & Local Government and Education at NetApp. “CenturyLink Network Storage with NetApp combines CenturyLink’s high-speed on-demand networking with NetApp’s cost-effective storage and data management capabilities to ensure agencies can tap into the power of data and have full confidence it can be secure and protected.”
CenturyLink Network Storage with NetApp delivers several unique benefits to state and local government agencies:
- Data Sovereignty — Given various laws regarding the movement of data outside of its place of origin, CNS helps keep data “in region,” as defined by the needs of the customer to avoid the consequences of inadvertently moving data where it should not or cannot go.
- SLED Cost Optimization — CNS is flexible to adapt to needs, meaning that state and local agencies can pay for storage only when needed, scale up or down quickly, and try out new expansions while mitigating cost and risk.
- IT Modernization — In state and local governments’ journey to the cloud, many legacy systems need to be designed so that the data is located closer to the edge to ease development cycles and testing. CNS solves this challenge by enabling efficient data distribution inside the network.
- Enhanced Security — CNS security is built into the network and managed on a dedicated communications link back to CenturyLink rather than through the cloud, which gives customers broad visibility into security threats.
- Edge Storage for IoT — As state and local agencies make way for new computing and storage solutions to enable IoT devices like smart vehicles, CNS allows for storage at the network edge to ease increasing strains on bandwidth.
Data at the edge has taken on heightened relevance during the COVID-19 pandemic as state and local agencies have been forced to rapidly transition to remote work and shift large amounts of transferable data to the cloud. COVID-19 is also accelerating digital transformation efforts, and every indication is the impact on how state and local agencies conduct business will be a lasting one.
Wendy Wickens, Director of IT for Loudoun County, Va., noted as much during a May webinar: “We are ready for a renaissance in the way we deliver services in local government,” Wickens said. “What we’ve all learned from this is that local government can function just like any other Fortune 500 [or] 1,000 company out there and that we have found ways to ensure that we can deliver services — and we can do it really, really well with our folks teleworking.”