As government agencies migrate toward hybrid IT environments, they have to manage data and applications across both cloud and on-premise infrastructures. In this environment, “there’s a lot more complexity,” said Wray Varley.
As vice president of government at Digital Realty, Varley is helping agencies tame that complexity. The company positions its secure, flexible and scalable data center platform as a foundation upon which all the operational elements of government IT can be managed effectively.
The platform ⏤ PlatformDIGITAL ⏤ acts as “a central nervous system of an agency’s IT architecture, helping facilitate seamless integration and management of all that data,” Varley said. “That’s where we can play a critical role in helping agencies meet these ever-evolving data needs and challenges.”
A multitenant data center platform sounds a lot like… the cloud. But it isn’t.
“The cloud lives in data centers, but data centers themselves are not the cloud per se,” Varley said. “Digital Realty provides the meeting place where companies, technologies, and data come together ⏤ the right infrastructure and seamless connectivity.”
In a hybrid environment, agencies may be leveraging multiple cloud service providers, along with cloud-based applications such as enterprise resource planning software. This raises a challenge.
“How are you going to manage the connections to all of those players, as well as the in-house applications that don’t lend themselves to being transferred into the cloud?” Varley asked. That’s where the data center platform comes in.
With an open and secure platform, users can easily connect to all those different cloud service providers, as well as their own infrastructure that maybe isn’t cloud-friendly.
“Everything can come together in a single meeting place. That makes everything much more efficient, scalable, and reliable,” Varley said.
While others offer similar services, Digital Realty has a few key differentiators. First, it’s a neutral, open space.
“We’re committed to creating an inclusive environment where customers and partners can seamlessly collaborate,” Varley said. “We want to be the central meeting place where all these connections are effectively effortless.”
In addition, the company boasts a global footprint, with 300-plus data centers on six continents. And it delivers the scalability needed to meet emerging needs. An agency can start with a single rack in a data center, “and if over time they grow to where they need an entire data center, we would be able to provide that,” Varley said.
Digital Realty has only recently begun to target the government space for these offerings.
“We started putting focus on government as a dedicated vertical when I came on board last March,” Varley said, adding that the company sees “significant growth opportunity there.”
How to take advantage of that opportunity? Right now, the strategy is to partner with established players in order to gain a foothold.
“We’re using system integrators, network carriers, other technology companies, in order to expand our reach within the government space,” Varley said. “We have this incredible ecosystem of companies who are either already partners or customers, and we work to position ourselves with them, to utilize the great customer relationships and contracts that they have in place.”
The company brings core strengths to these relationships, focusing on providing the fundamentals of space, power and cooling, and then utilizing its ecosystem of partners to help expand the business.
Of course, a newcomer in the government space will have a hill to climb. Government is a crowded marketplace, and Digital Realty isn’t yet a household name in that arena.
“When I came on board, the most significant challenge that we faced was building brand recognition within the government market,” Varley said. “For the past 18 or so months, there’s been a heavy effort on building that up.”
To do that, the marketing team has been busy on the back end, like standing up a government-focused landing page on the company website. Varley meanwhile has been active in his outreach efforts.
“A big piece of this has been working through organizations like WashingtonExec, where I am able to attend various mixers and dinners, as well as doing outreach to those companies where we have partners and contacts,” he said. “I know a lot of people in the federal system-integrator market, and we have done a really good job gaining traction over the last year.”
With over 30 years’ experience in the GovCon space, Varley said he’s excited to have the opportunity to help agencies meet some of their most pressing digital challenges.
“What has always made it meaningful for me is the sense of contributing to a greater purpose,” he said. “At Digital Realty, we’re providing the services that we excel at so that agencies can focus on their overall objectives. I truly feel we are supporting the broader mission of serving the nation.”