There’s always an IT news story about how government agencies are poised to embrace the cloud and all the potential in terms of efficiency, optimization, and cost savings that bring with it. But why, after cloud solutions have been available for the better part of a decade and with a cloud-first mandate, are most agencies still only ‘poised’ to embrace the cloud, rather than fully invested in it? But Joe Kim, Senior Vice President and Global CTO at SolarWinds, shared that he thinks this notion of agencies lagging so far behind in their movement to the cloud might just be another myth from inside The Beltway.
At the recent MeriTalk Cloud Connect event, the myth of the agency poised was laid to rest by a series of presentations by federal CIOs who are clearly invested in the cloud and realizing many of its benefits.
“We’re in a hybrid environment,” said Frank Konieczny, CTO, Office of Information Dominance and CIO, Office of the Secretary, U.S. Air Force shared. Konieczny said the Air Force moved to a hybrid solution because it couldn’t keep up with the revision levels of the software being used. “The hardest part was actually moving data back and forth between clouds,” he said, because they had to make sure the data transmission was working correctly and securely.
The State Department, too, is moving to a hybrid cloud solution said Michelle Sparrow-Walker, Director, Systems and Integration Office. There were several initiatives to move to the cloud in 2014 and 2015, but Sparrow-Walker’s office put a moratorium in place until “we could take a more strategic approach.” This strategic initiative started earlier this year once State had established a cloud computing governance board and implemented a cloud policy which clearly outlined which kinds of data needed to stay on premise and which could reside in a public cloud environment.
Meanwhile, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has taken the most aggressive approach, according to Tony Summerlin, Senior Strategic Advisor to the agency. When Summerlin came to the FCC, he found “terribly old” infrastructure, including two data centers located in the FCC’s building, and “1,800 databases for 1,700 people.” On the premise that it’s easier to ask forgiveness than permission, he moved quickly to relocate as much as possible to the cloud.
“These agencies are making smart choices by moving to the cloud in a more aggressive manner,” said Kim. “They’re really driving down both Op-Ex and Cap-Ex while improving the efficiency of their operations, improving the ability of agency workers to collaborate, and driving mission success.”
However, one area where Kim urged, not caution, but awareness is around common issues that arise when managing cloud deployments. Having critical insight into how servers and applications in the cloud are performing is essential, whether they are public, private, or hybrid implementations. Kim noted that ‘while you know what they ‘should’ be doing, monitoring what is going on in real-time with the ability to troubleshoot, ensures that not only is your agency getting what it paid for, but actually expands what the cloud can do.” With agencies choosing multi-vendor environments to support the movement of data, applications, services, and infrastructure to the cloud, to name just a few things, it’s essential to be able to manage capacity and receive timely alerts on status and usage thresholds in a unified view for the entire stack.
Interested in learning more about tools that can help your agency optimize its investment in the cloud? We’ve got a comprehensive guide here. Or why not check out this short video on application and server monitoring below.