VMware, the cloud infrastructure and business mobility, announced that the State of Louisiana Office of Technology Services (OTS) is taking advantage of VMware Cross-Cloud Architecture and VMware NSX to transform security and modernize data center operations as part of a statewide cloud transformation initiative. VMware is empowering OTS with a common operating model that spans both private and public clouds to more securely manage and scale its newly consolidated IT operations. According to OTS, to date, NSX has saved OTS upwards of $1 million in capital expenditures and even more in operational expenses by better equipping IT teams with the tools they need to scale systems with better outcomes and at lower costs.
Born out of legislation, the State of Louisiana OTS consolidated the IT operations of 16 state-wide agencies, including healthcare, education, and public safety, into a single entity, led by Richard “Dickie” Howze, the State’s Chief Information Officer. Using this as a catalyst, the State embarked on an IT transformation initiative to shape and change how IT services and infrastructure was built, delivered and managed across the State of Louisiana. The first major enterprise system to benefit from this initiative is the Louisiana Department of Health’s Medicaid Eligibility and Enrollment system, which is funded by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) using a 90/10 match.
The department implemented a software-defined data center with VMware NSX to deliver a service-first approach that prioritizes end-user security and ease-of-use while enabling easy scalability to various aspects of its government. OTS first deployed VMware NSX as part of their SDDC solution to support two of Louisiana’s largest healthcare services, the Medicaid Eligibility and Enrollment System and the Medicaid Management Information System. By implementing VMware NSX network virtualization, OTS said it can better service the 1.4 mn and growing constituents who use these programs by guaranteeing high availability, application continuity and streamlined IT workloads.
“The work we’ve done with VMware and NSX will serve as a model for other states looking to consolidate and streamline their IT operations while improving security,” said Michael Allison, Chief Technology Officer at State of Louisiana, Division of Administration/OTS. “We knew that we needed a virtualization solution to have agility and security across IT systems statewide. Through micro-segmentation, NSX offers a single pane of glass view into our data center that gives us insight into security and operational efficiencies, enabling us to scale quickly and securely. NSX was the piece of the puzzle that brought our vision to life in a way that didn’t compromise security, agility, and most importantly, service.”
With VMware NSX, OTS said it is able to extend a software-defined data center across a metro available cluster, providing OTS with Four-9’s availability with an active-active topology and near zero RTOs and RPOs for application continuity. OTS can fail over some traditional clusters between different data centers, and use NSX to do micro-segmentation. NSX enables OTS to automate application deployment, security, creating a more secure infrastructure across the entire environment. With NSX, OTS said its systems can also scale on demand to handle peaks in traffic, when volumes can increase by as much as 20X, as was the case with the availability of a new Medicaid service. With the built-in load balancing capabilities, OTS is able to move many of those capabilities into software, further reducing the requirements on hardware-defined approaches.
OTS is responsible for often 20- to 30-year-old legacy systems and thousands of applications spanning public safety, education, healthcare tax and many other government services. Using VMware NSX and a software-defined, cloud-centric approach, OTS is building modernized “systems of tomorrow” today that are stable, scalable and can help the organization address not only technology and service requirements, but also procurement cycles that can put IT behind the technology curve.
“We’re looking at automation and containers, we’re looking at continuous integration, continuous deployment, and the whole continuum of modern application approaches,” Allison said. “Being able to have a single platform to bring them on and tie them together, without risking security policies or having to handle two separate environments is a game changer for OTS. NSX is the piece that allows us to achieve all of this. I honestly don’t understand how people can go into a hyper-converged environment or build an enterprise cloud solution without a solution like NSX.”