State of Oklahoma assures operational continuity during pandemic with 10x network expansion
The pandemic put massive strain on government functions, but the state government of Oklahoma continued to serve the needs of its 3.9 million people.
The Office of Management and Enterprise Services (OMES), the technology arm of the State of Oklahoma, acted swiftly to ensure that the IT systems needed to operate state and local agencies, the schools, and emergency response worked smoothly. The state relies on Juniper networking for its statewide backbone, data center, and offices.
Months to complete statewide network refresh
Network capacity increase to support operational continuity
Million gigabytes of data secured
Staff worked from home securely
Swift action to ensure smooth government operations in a crisis
With 30,000 state workers suddenly working from home, providing reliable and secure connectivity to staff and residents was the top priority for the state’s IT leadership.
When COVID-19 first swept the nation, the state’s OMES accelerated its digital transformation plans, and took bold action to design and execute a tenfold capacity increase for its statewide network. OMES also established a secondary data center in Texas to strengthen business continuity and disaster recovery readiness.
The state relies on thousands of applications, ranging from administrative and collaborative apps like finance, human resources, productivity, and voice, to specialized applications like public safety, case management, and licensing for agencies and boards.
Massive network expansion completed in less than three months
With demand for digital government services spiking, the project timeline was compressed. OMES designed and built an all-new 100-Gbps core network and a greenfield data center in Texas in less than three months, which included a two-week pause for the 2020 US Presidential election.
No downtime occurred during the rip-and-replace of the statewide network.
“Juniper is customer-service driven,” says Aleta Seaman, technology services director, Office of Management and Enterprise Services, State of Oklahoma. “Their team is always available when issues arise and willing to assist at a moment’s notice. They are a true partner and are dedicated to helping OMES achieve our goals and drive innovation.”
The Juniper MX Series 5G Universal Routing Platforms provide the core of Oklahoma’s digital infrastructure, connecting 500 state and local government offices as well as schools, libraries, and other community institutions in 77 counties.
OMES uses Juniper’s IP network fabric solution in its cloud-ready data centers in Oklahoma City and Texas. Juniper QFX Series Switches and Juniper EX Series Ethernet Switches serve as the spine and leaf nodes, respectively, for the data center fabrics.
Data replication between data centers is speedy and secure, allowing greater flexibility to run applications and workloads either on-premises or in the cloud as well as guarding against operational disruption.
30,000 state employees worked remotely to keep critical government services open
Within weeks of the pivot to remote work, 30,000 state employees could securely access their applications and digital resources from home. A more powerful core network meant more responsive applications so employees could stay focused on helping constituents without lags or slow downloads..
The effort was huge. For instance, the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission went from handling 500 unemployment calls a day to 50,000—a 1000% increase. With a strong digital foundation, the agency was able to process claims and cut checks within 24 to 48 hours.
The network expansion underpins ongoing digital transformation efforts, including ok.gov, a one-stop shop for government services such as incorporating a business, getting a fishing license, or renewing a driver’s license without having to go to the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Oklahoma’s accelerated digital transformation may help keep more college graduates from leaving the state for more opportunities as well as entice people with remote jobs to trade an urban lifestyle for the wide open spaces of Oklahoma.
Published September 2021