Digital Governments Rising: City of Dublin Transforms their Network, Empowers Community
Dec 1, 2016
Two weeks ago, I attended the Arkansas Digital Government Summit, which brings together public and private sector leaders to help spread best practices and spur innovation in the public sector. I led a session called “The Cloud Tsunami: From Disruption to Cohesion”, centered around the idea that we are in the midst of a paradigm-shift, away from constant digital disruption, and into digital cohesion.
Digital Cohesion is a future in which applications connect and self-assemble to deliver compelling mega-services that enhance our lives. Services will be integrated, predictive, autonomous, and adaptive – based on your personal preferences and behaviors.
Digital cohesion can answer the age-old question, “what’s for dinner?”. Accessing all the data related to your diet, health and behaviors, mega-services will know: your fitness goals, family schedule, what you’ve eaten and like, and what’s in your refrigerator. And the service will deliver a friction-less experience. Based on your past behavior patterns and your schedule, among other factors, the service will determine if this is the night you go out or eat-in. And it is all autonomous. Cars will not be ordered, wallets will not be opened, food will appear at the door, or in your refrigerator or the pantry, and recipes will be on the kitchen display. Or, perhaps the entire dining table will be set with the food warm and ready to eat.
But we have a long climb to go before realizing digital cohesion as reality. Namely, 4 hurdles to clear before dinner-time: 1) performance (scale up and out), 2) economics (automation), 3) interoperability at every layer of the network, and 4) trust (security everywhere).
All of these factors are crucial to delivering a friction-less experience. But in the context of a local area network (LAN) infrastructure, the backbone of businesses, the innovation (or modernization, for that matter) required to surpass the four hurdles lags. Today’s network easily breaks or becomes vulnerable when faced with changes. It lacks scale, reliability, and visibility. There are too many layers of switching. It’s brittle, manual, and difficult to keep secure. And, it’s cumbersome to rapidly deploy and troubleshoot applications.
It’s not surprising that 90% of today’s network resources goes towards keeping the lights on and maintaining legacy systems. But it means that we have our work cut out for us before we can even think about delivering a friction-less experience. LAN networks need to be modernized. If the investment worries you, consider that $7 of core execution is needed for every $1 of innovation investment. So let me ask you this: do you spend too much managing your network?
Here are a few questions that can help you decide whether, and how, to make your next network investment:
Do you have to touch every network device every time you update a policy? In other words, is your network simple, or is it bogging you down?
Do you really need separate network operations teams to manage your data center and campus networks? Could you collapse your core, distribution, and access layers into a simple-to-manage platform that can be managed from either data center or campus headquarters?
What is your “technical debt” should you want to change network direction in the future? How much is your technology setting you back?
What does it take to scale your network as needed? Can your network grow with your business needs?
How do you plan to transform your network to accommodate advances like Cloud and SDN? Is your network ready for the future?
Let’s pause here and connect back to the Digital Government Summit. The intention of this event is to advance the goals of state and local government organizations, and I want to bring up an example of a local municipality that has answered the questions above, and then made measurable progress towards building a network foundation that can help realize digital cohesion.
City of Dublin, Ohio, is becoming a smart city by delivering on a powerful network infrastructure that empowers the business community that ultimately gives back to the city. They’ve upgraded their backbone network, called the “Dublink”, from 10Gbps to 100Gbps, and transformed their business district to attract small, high-growth businesses by providing high-performance fiber transport to each building tenant at the legacy office park. According to Doug McCollough, CIO for the City of Dublin, they’ve created an economic vortex of activity. Businesses go to Dublin to be a part of the community.
But that’s not all. The upgraded business park is the foundation for innovation. City of Dublin is connecting the Route 33 corridor between the City and the Honda plant in Marysville, which will be used for connected vehicle and autonomous vehicle research. The data and devices along this route will be used to improve day-to-day transportation challenges.
Using a simple, scalable, easily manageable, and carrier-class network powered by Juniper Networks EX Series switches…City of Dublin created a foundation to transform the business community, the city itself, and work on innovative future technologies like connected and autonomous vehicles. They’ve built more than a network.
Take City of Dublin as an example of doing more than just keeping the lights on, and stay tuned for my next blog post where I’ll share how you can answer the five questions above.