Government Storage Buyer’s Guide

Storage Heroes  |  February 22, 2024

In the ever-evolving landscape of government operations, the strategic management of data has become paramount, necessitating a comprehensive evaluation of enterprise data storage solutions. As government agencies increasingly rely on digital information for critical decision-making and service delivery, the selection of an appropriate storage infrastructure demands careful consideration of various factors. From ensuring robust security measures to addressing scalability, performance, and compliance with regulatory standards, agencies face a complex task in identifying the optimal storage solution.

This article delves into 11 key considerations that storage managers and other digital infrastructure leaders representing government agencies should meticulously assess when procuring enterprise data storage, highlighting the critical aspects that contribute to the efficiency, security, and sustainability of their data management practices.

Security and Compliance:

Security is paramount for government agencies, making data encryption a critical consideration. Robust encryption mechanisms should be in place to protect sensitive information during both transit and storage. Additionally, compliance with relevant regulatory standards is imperative. The chosen storage solution must adhere to government-specific requirements, ensuring data protection and storage practices align with established guidelines and laws.


To accommodate the evolving needs of government agencies and their mission, scalability is essential. The storage solution should exhibit both vertical scalability, allowing the addition of resources to existing infrastructure, and horizontal scalability, enabling capacity expansion by adding more nodes. This ensures that the storage infrastructure can grow seamlessly alongside the agency’s increasing data volume over time.


Data-intensive next-generation government applications demand high input/output (I/O) performance. In order to effectively leverage data for activities like GPU-accelerated workloads, high performance computing, and artificial intelligence or machine learning, agencies should evaluate the storage solution’s I/O capabilities to meet the specific demands of their workloads. Additionally, latency, or the time it takes for data access, should be minimized, especially for applications requiring low-latency access. Optimizing performance is crucial for maintaining operational efficiencies and getting mission-critical data into the hands of decision-makers.

Reliability and Availability:

Redundancy and high availability are key components of a reliable storage solution. Beyond RAID configurations, implementing redundancy features helps mitigate the risk of data loss in the event of hardware failures. Hardware redundancy and nondisruptive migrations, maintenance and upgrades ultimately lead to higher data availability (described in terms of “x nines” architectures) and ensures continuous access to data, minimizing downtime and supporting the agency’s need for uninterrupted mission operations.

Data Lifecycle Management:

Effective data lifecycle management involves implementing strategies such as data tiering and defining clear data retention policies. Data tiering allows for the automatic movement of less frequently accessed data to lower-cost storage tiers, optimizing resource usage. Establishing policies for data retention, archiving, and deletion ensures compliance with regulatory requirements and efficient storage management. Furthermore, implementing access control policies ensures that only authorized personnel can access sensitive information, maintaining data integrity and confidentiality.


Seamless integration with existing IT infrastructure, applications, and protocols is crucial. The chosen storage solution should be compatible with the agency’s current systems to minimize disruptions during implementation. Interoperability facilitates a smooth transition and ensures that the new storage infrastructure complements and enhances the agency’s overall IT environment. One key use case for successful interoperability is accomplishing data storage virtualization – or the aggregation of several disparate physical storage devices and their data into a single pane of glass for unified data management. Government storage devices should either serve as a platform for storage virtualization, or at the very least be interoperable with other storage virtualization platforms.

Cost Considerations:

Assessing the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is vital in budget-conscious government settings. This evaluation should include initial purchase costs, ongoing maintenance expenses, energy consumption, and scalability costs. Consumption, utility or “as-a-service” procurement models provide organizations with an operational consumption pricing versus a capital expenditure – but may not necessarily lower total cost of ownership. Aligning the storage solution with budget constraints while still meeting performance and security requirements is crucial for a sustainable and cost-effective investment.

Sustainability Considerations:

Government agencies are increasingly recognizing the importance of sustainability in their operations, and data storage is no exception. Assessing the carbon footprint and energy efficiency of data storage solutions can contribute significantly to an agency’s overall environmental responsibility. Choosing storage solutions with lower energy consumption and a smaller carbon footprint not only reduces operational costs but also supports the agency’s commitment to mitigating climate change.

Vendor Reputation and Support:

Choosing a reputable vendor with proven past performance and positive third party reviews (such as analyst content) is essential for the success of any storage solution implementation. Agencies should carefully evaluate a vendor’s history in providing secure and reliable enterprise storage solutions. Furthermore, assessing the quality of customer support services, including locale, response times, availability, and expertise, ensures that the agency receives timely assistance and ongoing support.

Disaster Recovery and Backup:

A comprehensive disaster recovery and backup strategy are imperative for government agencies. Implementing robust backup solutions safeguards data against accidental deletion, corruption, or other unforeseen events. Additionally, developing and regularly testing a disaster recovery plan ensures a prompt and effective response in the event of catastrophic incidents, minimizing data loss and downtime.