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CBP CIO on using modern data center tech to serve the mission

While cloud computing tends to dominate most IT modernization discussions, federally owned and managed data centers still play a critical role in operations for government agencies, says one long-time federal CIO.

There is clearly value to both data center and cloud capabilities, according to Sonny Bhagowalia, acting assistant commissioner for information and technology and CIO at U.S. Customs and Border Protection. That’s why CBP has adopted a hybrid strategy as it modernizes its infrastructure.

In a new FedScoop “IT Insights” interview, Bhagowalia reflects on how CBP Is taking advantage of recent advances in technology and making its on-premises data centers as productive as what’s available in the cloud. The video interview was underwritten by Dell Technologies.

“The mission is so big in terms of what we do in safeguarding America and data centers play a very big role in terms of what we provide in high value assets,” he says. Additionally, CBP needs an infrastructure that operates at the speed of the mission, works 24/7 and is global.

Joining him in the discussion was Mahtab Emdadi, a regional sales director at Dell Technologies, who says many federal agencies are evaluating their infrastructure strategies in a similar light.

“We’ve all seen our customers go through this shift with their multi-cloud journey and they’ve all kind of landed in the same place, where the need for data center and public cloud — and the need for them to be able to interoperate — it’s what they need in order to transform,” she says.

According to Emdadi, that can be for various reasons. For some they want to keep their “crown jewels” on premises, and cost and security are going to factor into those decisions. And other times, it’s because they haven’t gotten around to refactoring those applications. But their legacy systems still need to be updated.

“And as [agencies] are modernizing, they are keeping four tenants in mind — and [those are] flash, scale, software defined and cloud enabled,” Emdadi says. Today’s on-premises data center solutions allow them to do that.

Bhagowalia and Emdadi also discuss trends in technology and what CIOs should consider as they decide how best to modernize their existing data centers.

Listen to the full discussion and learn more about federal data center modernization.

This article was produced by FedScoop and underwritten by Dell Technologies.