In 2020, the federal government made major investments in cloud computing for obvious reasons. From the Pentagon to the Department of Health and Human Services, it seems like every agency began to plan its shift to the cloud. According to an analysis by Bloomberg Government, federal spending on cloud computing topped $6.6 billion in 2020 – the most the federal government has ever spent on cloud computing services. Although the journey to the cloud brings new challenges, the destination ultimately brings long-term value and strength to organizations. To achieve the most streamlined cloud journey, agencies are exploring the Anything-as-a-Service (XaaS) approach of transitioning to cloud services on a holistic level to reduce IT complexity and improve efficiency.
When FCN Inc. embarked on its own cloud migration journey, the IT team sought an XaaS approach. Rick Ailstock, Lead Technical Sales SE for Partner Relationships, explained how investing in a comprehensive platform that was already preconfigured, tested, and certified meant bypassing the time-consuming hurdle of piecing together an IT infrastructure from scratch while struggling to meet changing federal standards. “When done right, an XaaS approach can be a significant cost savings,” explained Ailstock. Ailstock went on to advise that all federal agencies explore taking an XaaS approach: “The adoption of this across federal agencies will allow infrastructure to support new remote work demands and security for all data accessed locally as it travels through the agency’s network or connecting systems.”
Ailstock encourages federal agencies to ask a few questions prior to deciding their approach to cloud migration. According to him, they should start by asking, “Do we have the skills to be able move all our operations online?” The Bloomberg analysis found that spending on cloud support services recently “rose sharply,” which means government cloud customers are increasingly seeking consultation on how to manage their cloud platforms. An XaaS approach reduces the likelihood of having to learn new systems every time an agency transitions to new technology, which can be a major setback to operationalizing new infrastructure.
Next, Ailstock noted that it’s more difficult to identify vulnerabilities or automate cybersecurity measures in a disjointed IT infrastructure. So, he advised that agencies then ask, “Will security measures keep information secure and accessible in an ever-changing world where things happen too fast for us as agencies?”
Finally, Ailstock said agencies should consider whether they will benefit most from a public, private, or hybrid cloud model. “The public cloud is a great option if you need access on demand, but what about private clouds that offer more control over who has access?” asked Ailstock. “Hyperconverged solutions may suit certain projects better than others with their simplicity being one factor.”
Eventually, all federal agencies will be faced with embarking on the cloud migration journey. However, agencies can drastically simplify the effort required to transition to the cloud by pursuing an effective XaaS approach. Since federal agencies often encounter similar obstacles in security, compliance, and strategy, Ailstock suggested that agencies look to experienced organizations for guidance in the cloud migration journey.
“In order to limit risk during these transitions it is important that agencies and organizations alike not only understand what they’re up against but also work with their peers from other organizations on shared goals that benefit everyone involved.”
To learn more about how federal agencies can tap the XaaS model, download the white paper “Unify Data and Workloads Across Your Hybrid Cloud” from FCN Inc. and Dell Technologies.