Legendary Help: Preparing Public Services for Increased Demand
Across the globe, government services are experiencing an increased demand to connect with public services. As non-essential businesses remain closed and economic downturn looms, more people are accessing social services for government help and benefits. The COVID pandemic has also highlighted an issue that has been threatening government services but was intensified by the pandemic. As the population around the globe ages, there will be growing stress on healthcare systems. The current pandemic exemplified how dramatically this stress would affect the healthcare system, and how priority should be placed on upgrading government agencies and public services systems proactively, before a further crisis hits.
It is every government’s responsibility to consider the well-being of its citizens. That’s why, when a National Government Services Agency tasked Rocket with modernizing their systems to improve the delivery of its services to citizens and to respond to increasing demands, we leveraged our skills to help them. The new solution needed to be forward-thinking to ensure that government benefits could be accessed when they were most needed. It also needed to prepare the Government Services Agency for the future. In addition to creating a solution for the planned increase in use due to the aging population and the stress on the healthcare system, the agency also wanted to lower the cost of maintaining their current mainframe system.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, emergency relief legislation caused application demand to triple from many channels, which exceeded the agency’s available computing capacity. With additional legislation, total load increased to four times its usual peak, resulting in the organization’s requirement for a quick solution to handle the demand and stabilize the system.
In conjunction with engineers on the government agency’s team, the Rocket Research and Development team has already implemented creative, cost-effective solutions to leverage the IBM mainframe used by the agency. Using the mainframe’s specialty engines, the solution managed data and workload distribution, extended processing capabilities for workloads, and provided data-serving capabilities—all using Rocket Model 204. The Rocket Model 204 is able to handle the scalability needs of the government while still allowing access to their systems at a large scale.
Since implementing the Model 204 solution, we have built a strong relationship with this government agency. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we knew that we needed to act quickly and mobilize Rocket’s capabilities in order to help them respond. Using our entire Model 204 team, we analyzed all available hardware and load characteristics. Within a week, we were able to stabilize performance and expand headroom in the mainframe. Through enhancements to the Model 204 and targeted changes in the application code, IBM specialty (zIIP) engines were better utilized to keep up with increased demand.
A customer-centric approach
Rocket’s vision is to evolve to meet changing demands on our customers. They have helped make us who we are, and they trust us to help bring their visions and needs to life. We have been lucky to build out a long-standing relationship with this agency, with them relying on Rocketeers to provide guidance in strategic decision-making for government networks, storage management, and security. We’ve even placed key Rocketeers locally to ensure continued support and expertise on the Rocket systems.
The agency’s API traffic has increased from 60 million to 250 million calls a day, and through continued enhancements, the organization has managed to keep up with the current demand while being prepared for the future.