Network Management

Survey: 'Always-on' mindset slow to penetrate government

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The proliferation of mobile and desktop apps in the consumer world has given rise to a demand for always-on applications. But the 100-percent uptime ideal isn't necessarily part of the federal IT mindset, according to a new survey from Riverbed.

The survey of federal IT professionals found that 51 percent of respondents need a day or more to locate and fix application performance problems, while only 17 percent could deal with outages within minutes. Only 30 percent of respondents characterized their ability to monitor network performance as "excellent."

"People expect applications to respond instantly. People aren't willing to wait. The new paradigm is things need to be available in real-time, all the time," said Davis Johnson, vice president of public sector sales and business development at Riverbed. "That's affecting citizen services across the board. There's a lot more pressure on agency CIOs to get this right – to make sure applications perform much better than in the past."

Davis said that Riverbed's application performance and wide-area network optimization tools are already in use across the government, including at all Cabinet-level agencies, across the Department of Defense, and inside the intelligence community. But, according to the survey and report, federal IT leaders say they need more resources to bring to bear on network monitoring and visibility.

Davis said there is a "huge opportunity" to deliver more of these kinds of services to the government right now, because federal IT priority areas like cloud, data center consolidation, mobile computing and application delivery, and cybersecurity give agencies an increased need for real-time information about network performance. Forty-five percent of survey respondents said that increasing network complexity was the leading network management challenge, as applications send data over longer and more circuitous paths to reach end users.

Davis said that by and large, back office applications like databases and internal applications are most affected by problems such as undetected latencies or other network slowdowns. Agencies running mission-centric digital applications or apps that are collaborative or communicative in nature are more likely to be monitored in real time for outages, bottlenecks and slow response times.

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


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