VMworld: “Embracing Federal Mobility” Session – A Day in the Life of Federal IT

VMware Federal IT Mobility

With standing room only, the “Embracing Federal Mobility” session demonstrated how pioneers in federal IT are driving transformation within their agencies. In the few minutes leading up to the session, attendees shared with me a glimpse into federal IT challenges:

  • Think security: When’s the last time Edward Snowden visited your offices?
  • Think dynamic: Enabling remote access on aircraft carriers to submarines, no problem!
  • Think responsibility: Have you ever tried re-purposing a 7 year old device to save costs?

It’s no wonder mobile initiatives are top of mind for federal IT: a recent Meritalk, a government IT network, survey suggests 49% of Government Managers believe mobile technology can contribute significantly towards productivity. And, when coupled with potential cost savings for federal mobile computing (source: AOL) it’s impossible to ignore:

  • 57% Real Estate/Facilities Reduction
  • 42% Software Licensing Costs per Employee
  • 27% Training Costs
  • 35% Help Desk/Support Costs
  • 49% Net Hardware Costs per Employee

But as they say “99 percent of all statistics only tell 49 percent of the story.” Let’s hear what the panel, led by Douglas Bourgeois, Vice-President, Federal End User Computing, had to say.

The “inventory of all things” is how Akram Al-Mudallal, Chief Architect at the U.S. Department of Energy, characterized their EUC journey that began more than 3 years ago after a string of security incidents. An exhaustive inventory to understand what applications were being used on the network turned up many users “doing their own thing”. The result was mass redundancies and cost inefficiencies.

They rationalized a strategy to unify IT, apps and users by corralling IT and business decision makers with the additional goal to improve overall end user experience. A VDI solution with zero clients powered by VMware Horizon helped secure applications and data in the datacenter and automate desktop management. Today, energy scientists based in laboratories scattered across the country have secure access to critical apps and data even while reducing IT costs.

Kris Ostergard, Chief Architect, Cyber Solutions Group at Imperatis a federal IT provider is currently working with an unnamed agency that experienced a security incident so bad the entire network was abandoned. They opted instead to rebuild a hybrid cloud solution from top to bottom on the VMware EUC stack from Horizon to AirWatch, NSX and vSphere supporting 15,000 mobile users worldwide.

This state of the art solution provides agency users with secure access from anywhere in the world. Basically, device theft and data loss is a non-issue; data is centralized in the datacenter where access is terminated and protected by anti-malware and signature/anomaly based tools. Moreover, the solution lowers cost and reduces resource sprawl with self-service provisioning and greater visibility in maintaining and decommissioning IT resources.

Over at the GSA, Roberto Rosales, Mobile Branch Chief, deployed virtual desktops as part of an executive mandate to achieve AATAD (anytime anywhere to any device) for their 14,000 strong mobile workforce. Seeing the influx of smart phones, tablets and BYOD the GSA adopted a softer user adoption strategy wooing users via a voluntary program called “My View”. By not forcing technology down users’ throats they’ve seen a higher uptick than anticipated.  Averaging 5000 connections per month, users are invited to securely deploy VDI right on top their existing laptop or other devices.

Thank you again to our federal customers for sharing their stories at VMworld! It left no doubt in my mind that Federal IT is just about the most fascinating place to be when it comes to end user computing. Please click here for more information.

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