The State of Louisiana Office of Technology Services is modernizing its infrastructure, moving to a software-defined data center (SDDC) model. Michael Dell persuaded the state to choose Dell hardware for its project. Louisiana technology executives said VMware’s NSX has been the “glue” to pull it all together.
The work is being done via the Louisiana Enterprise Architecture Project, which began in 2014. IT executives are working to modernize and standardize IT services across the state’s 16 government agencies. They’re updating two data centers in Baton Rouge.
For the upgrade, the state chose Dell appliances with Nutanix’s HCI running vSphere. It’s using VMware’s NSX for software-defined networking (SDN). In addition, it’s using CA Technologies for user authentication and Netscaler for load balancing.
Michael Allison, CTO at the State of Louisiana, said, “We talked to Michael Dell, and he sold us. But we struggled with how we would manage the network. We really had to think about bringing the network into the hypervisor. NSX was the missing key, the solution that glued everything together. VMware has probably been one of the strongest partners we’ve had through this journey.”
For the project, CA Technologies provides software that consolidates authentication for citizens of Louisiana. In the past, individuals had separate accounts for their state taxes, their motor vehicles, and other agencies. “CA brings a single account for the customer, secured once in one place,” said Matthew Vince, chief design officer with the State of Louisiana Office of Technology Services.
The Business Model
The cost of a huge IT undertaking such as the Louisiana Enterprise Architecture Project can cause Chief Information Officers (CIOs) to balk. But the Louisiana team found a creative way to get the ball rolling with their upgrade. They started their project by focusing on the state’s Department of Health.
“The big challenge here was: how do we even get started?” said Vince. “We needed a good anchor tenant, a first customer that could trailblaze and get funding. The one that got us here is the Department of Health for Medicaid enrollment.”
Vince said the federal government will pay 90 percent of IT upgrades for the Department of Health to support Medicaid. Louisiana has to pay only 10 percent.
The state then used the Department of Health as an example to argue for modernization of other agencies. “We took the Medicaid concepts and applied them statewide to transportation, tax, children and family services,” said Vince. “We plan to build infrastructure that will be shared beyond Medicaid.”
When all is done, the state will have about 2 million people, of a total state population of 4.7 million, interacting with the new infrastructure.