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Welcome to Government Gurus!

NetApp U.S. Public Sector announces the launch of our newest blog, Government Gurus! The blog features weekly posts from subject matter experts in the industry. Each week a different topic will be covered and discussed with the NetApp community. We encourage people to ask questions, comment on the posts and share the content with friends, co-workers and partners alike!


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Recent Blog Posts

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Like the Feds, State and Local governments see the benefit of cloud computing but they haven’t made progress like their Federal counterparts. The tortoise is trying to catch the hare – and it’s not often the Feds get to play the role of the hare.


Well, move over Feds, cloud is a huge strategic goal for State and Locals.


The National Association of State CIOs said cloud computing is their top tech priority for 2014. They see the advantages in terms of saving money through shared services, improved security, more robust infrastructure, and operational efficiencies generally - tons of upside.


But our public-sector friends are seldom early adopters, and they continue to struggle with transitioning to the cloud. Like turning a cargo ship, it takes a while.


State CIOs have identified the bureaucratic landscape as a big hurdle. They have to navigate within the regulatory and contractual framework, and that isn’t easy. The procurement process and pathways can tend to drive the boat – or cargo ship – at the state level.


Believe it or not I have had CIOs tell me that they are choosing or being dictated to choose their cloud solution based on the lowest acquisition cost and ease of procurement, and not best value and ability to deliver.



I understand the need for prudence since IT spending by State and Local governments is expected to increase only by 1.5 percent this year, but that underscores the need for creative new alternatives like a comprehensive cloud solution that will offer operational efficiency, reduced time to market, and elasticity, all likely leading to significant cost savings over time. The benefits of cloud cannot truly be measured in the commodity terms of dollars per bit, byte, or CPU, but instead will ultimately be measured in how it completely redefines and creates the new “norm” in the way the public sector conducts its IT business.


State and Local CIOs also grapple with the idea of letting go of their data to store it in the cloud. A little skepticism is good. Data is their most important asset, so they need to know that it’s safe.


There also needs to be a detailed exit strategy – it can’t be a door that locks behind you. I am reminded of the telecom boom in the early 2000s following government deregulation of that industry. In a matter of months you had hundreds and thousands of start-up service providers in every city and town. Fast forward a couple of years and you had very few survivors when the market was no longer shiny and new and had to be run like a real business. Many organizations did not have an exit strategy and either suffered painful transitions or paid through the nose for easier ones as a result.


Cloud computing can be a tremendous asset for State and Local governments, but they need a guiding hand.


It’s not about public cloud vs. private cloud vs. hybrid cloud. It is not one size fits all. A successful cloud strategy will likely involve all of the above, as well as on-premise infrastructure. Perhaps more than any other technology shift in our lifetime, cloud will require internal and external collaboration and partnering at new levels requiring stringent SLAs and low egos!


Making sure State and Local IT leaders understand that there is an ecosystem of partners to help them sort out their options and craft their cloud strategy is critical to ensuring that they get the most out of the cloud. And maybe save a little money.


For more insight, follow the conversation about cloud computing at NetApp or MeriTalk’s Cloud Computing Exchange and the Cloud Computing Caucus Advisory Group


Shawn Rodriguez, Director, State and Local Government and Education, NetApp

statescoop50.JPGHow does NetApp support state and local governments? What is the biggest trend in this space? How will technology change state government over the next decade?

Mark Weber, President of NetApp U.S. Public Sector and StateScoop50 nominee, answers these questions in a podcast with StateScoop. Listen here-

Tasked with delivering new information technology solutions and learning opportunities on tight budgets, U.S. public institutions are put in a difficult position. State governments are looking for flexible, efficient, and secure data statescoop1.JPGmanagement solutions.

State and local leaders are focused on improving government performance through technology and efficiency. As state budgets stabilize, Mark sees these major trends shaping this space:


  1. Shared Services
  2. eGovernment
  3. Security
  4. Cloud


Check out the podcast to hear more about how these trends are impacting state government and how NetApp is able to confidently drive change within state government IT.

Mark is nominated for the StateScoop50 Industry Leadership Award. Don’t forget to cast your vote for Mark Weber before April 18th.

IMG_0508.JPGFrom the moment we step out of bed in the morning until the moment we go to bed at night, we often get distracted by action items, steps, and cycles that need to take place.  Much of our days are focused on checking off our “to do” lists but we are much more than our “to do” lists.

We are defined by how we give back to those from whom we expect nothing in return. At NetApp, I am continually impressed by how the company and employees live beyond their “to do” lists and strive to affect positive change through philanthropic efforts.

During this time every year, NetApp focuses philanthropic efforts on cancer awareness, prevention and treatment. Passionate employees choose to support St.Baldrick’s and many other non-profit organizations that fight cancer, including the American Cancer Society, Gastric Cancer Fund, and CancerCarePoint.


The St.Baldrick’s Foundation is a volunteer-driven charity committed to funding the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long and healthy lives.

Did you know that worldwide, a child is diagnosed with cancer every three minutes? Astonishing facts like this shock me and inspire me to help. That’s where St. Baldrick’s events come in.

St. Baldrick’s empowers volunteers to host head-shaving events. Volunteer “shavees” sign up to get their head shaved and raise money from friends and family like you would for a walk-a-thon. The funds raised are donated to St.Baldrick’s because they direct every single dollar possible to carefully selected research grants.

I am pleased to announce that once again, passionate employee volunteers are making the 5th annual DC Metro St.Baldrick’s event possible. Our primary focus is to have the greatest impact on childhood cancer worldwide while having fun!


Every year there are moments in which the meaning of St. Baldrick’s slaps me in the face. I want to share a few that I’m most proud of:

  • Number of childhood research grants made possible thanks to the generous donations from NetApp employee volunteers, their friends and families – over $5 million has been donated since 2007.
  • Number of people who have shared their personal battles with cancer. It is unfortunate but there are a lot of them. 
  • Countless families our volunteer efforts have positively impacted through the years.


  • When women volunteer to face the razor, and shave their heads.
  • Watching volunteers set up the event, participate, and break everything down just to drive over an hour back home. No matter the distance, people come together for this worthy cause; it is something special. 

I challenge you to step back from your “to do” list and do something that you’re passionate about. #NetAppCulture


Adam Mellor, Sales Representative, NetApp U.S. Public Sector

The cloud still looks like the Wild West to many Feds– unsettled and lawless.


Keep your head down. Watch your back.


Concerns about data security – primarily data loss and data breaches – represent their major worries. Giving up control of data is a big step for agencies and not one Feds take lightly. They want to ensure that their data will be secure in the cloud and portable in case they want to saddle up and switch cloud service providers later.


Agencies also are wary of the cloud environment because they don’t have full visibility once they let go of the data. Since they can’t see under the covers, they don’t know the hardware their cloud service provider uses or the underlying security in place to protect data and networks.


It’s a leap of faith.


Public and hybrid clouds are the main culprits. But there are sheriffs in town, reliable technology solutions to give agencies the tools they need to keep track of data – and keep the peace.


Secure multi-tenancy goes a long way toward addressing the major concerns agencies have expressed. Since multiple tenants can use space in the same public cloud -- lots of people in one teepee – secure multi-tenancy is a commonsense solution. It provides cloud users with clear, unimpeded visibility of their slice of the cloud. It also gives cloud users an opportunity to ensure that their cloud has a trusted hardware stack – with all the elements in the stack working as they should.


Migrating to the cloud is a big step for many agencies, but it shouldn’t be a step into the unknown.


Agencies don’t want to feel like they’re heading into the Wild West when they journey to the cloud. They want cloud security solutions that make them feel at home.


If you want to stay involved, follow the conversation about cloud computing at MeriTalk’s Cloud Computing Exchange and the Cloud Computing Caucus Advisory Group


Lee Vorthman, Chief Technology Officer, Federal and Civilian Agencies, NetApp U.S. Public Sector


GovDataDownload recently presented a podcast with Travis Howerton, Chief Technology Officer at the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).


At NNSA Travis serves as the RightPath Program Manager leading the Department of Energy (DOE/NNSA) IT modernization efforts. In this interview he discusses his recent Fed 100 recognition and how experience in the private sector helps him in his current role. Travis also explains the innovative cloud storage brokerage model at NNSA, and the security considerations federal IT executives need to consider when moving to the cloud.


Listen to the interview with him here.