Recently, Government Technology Insider discussed how virtual machines and cloud solutions are ideal for public sector agencies and institutions with Eric Pan, Sr. Director of Alliance Marketing, Oracle. Pan mentioned that with security, predictability and control, cloud vendors can successfully provide solutions to the public sector and help further their missions.
Government Technology Insider (GTI): Hi, Eric, thank you for talking with us today. Can you tell us a little about how the cloud space is being transformed?
Eric Pan (EP): One solution that is changing the way agencies view the cloud is the Oracle Cloud VMware Solution. It’s a bare-metal, high-performance, government-scale capable platform that enables IT operators to move an on-premises VMware environment to the cloud—without any modifications. It’s a certified solution with the VMware Cloud Verified logo. Less than five percent of VMware’s 4,500+ cloud provider partners are Cloud Verified.
Oracle and VMware jointly developed the Oracle Cloud VMware Solution to offer customers a unique capability to re-platform on-premises VMware estates to the cloud—all without any changes to their existing environment. All related investments in people, processes, and tools can be fully transferred to a cloud operating model with high fidelity to the original, on-premises specification.
GTI: Why are solutions like this important for public sector agencies and institutions?
EP: The FedRAMP High JAB P-ATO and DISA Impact Level 5 accreditation builds on a vendor’s ability to deliver cloud services for public sector customers who are caught between two competing objectives; a mandate to migrate to the cloud and a lack of funding to conduct application re-architecture and version upgrades. Vendors are able to remove these public sector barriers to cloud adoption by taking a different approach founded on these core tenets: security, predictability and control.
Passing the stringent US government standards is a true testament to the rigorous security in solutions. When solutions operate in full isolation from the control plane by design, vendors never see any of the data or code operating in the customer’s environment. Additionally, when agencies partner with leading vendors, the security policies, tools, and processes that have been hardened in environments, over many years, may be directly transposed, without any changes into the solution. By coupling industrial-grade security with well-understood security guardrails, IT operators have both layers to protect data and application continuity.
Customers also need to have predictability in time-to-productivity and cost-controls. Over many years, IT teams have mapped applications operating in environments to match with the needs of the agency or institution. Leading solutions enable IT operators to copy and paste an existing environment to the cloud; IT operators and agency managers will have predictable time-to-productivity for users as their applications will operate as originally designed in their on-premises data center.
In an on-premises data center, costs are well understood. Costs per operating day, cost per application, cost per user are all quantified. In these solutions, customers can have predictability for costs to manage environments in the cloud—and without any invoicing surprises. To address this, a vendor’s cloud subscription costs can be the same for government regions and commercial regions around the world. Predictable cost models were developed in response to customers asking vendors to consider data velocity over data gravity.
Many agencies depend on contractors and systems integrators to manage environments. Control over the environments spanning on-premises and in the cloud is fundamental to legal and regulatory compliance. Leading solutions enable agencies, or their services partner, to completely manage their environment with super user, root access and a VMware Admin role. Full control over a cloud-based estate empowers customers to maintain consistency with all of their existing compliance policies, best practices and tools.
GTI: What are some typical applications and use cases?
EP: A range of use cases include a) data center exit to cloud operations, b) hybrid-cloud, c) virtual desktop infrastructure and d) continuity of operations/disaster recovery.
Agencies that depend on call centers for public service information and emergency services dispatching. Call centers are often built with unified communications software operating in VMware environments with on-premises hardware. With the Oracle Cloud VMware Solution, public sector agencies can rapidly migrate these call center environments to the cloud to gain better availability and cost savings over aging, on-premises hardware.
This scenario is amplified during a natural disaster that requires on-premises systems to immediately cease operations and start elsewhere. The solution is capable of enabling a rapid migration from an on-premises environment to ensure continuity of operations and resume applications required to provide government information to citizens.
GTI: Can public sector organizations leverage these solutions for Cloud Smart or other mandates?
EP: Yes. The solution operates with high-fidelity to the on-premises data center. Agencies and institutions are able to leverage all of their existing VMware-related investments—people skills, operational process, security policies and software tools. Applications operating in a VMware environment will continue to operate in the cloud just as they operated in an on-premises data center.
GTI: What are some concepts that a CIO would think about when preparing the IT Team to consider these Solutions?
EP: Think about the past, present, near future, and long-range plans that IT leaders have thought through to provide direction and enable their teams to deliver IT systems.
In terms of the past, agencies and institutions solidified IT models to operate all possible apps, databases and workloads in environments. There were very few compute/HPC and massive transactional workloads for modeling, simulation, genomics research that were not virtualized. Cloud Smart and budget- constrained IT departments are searching for better answers to create more cost- effective and highly available systems to underpin VMware environments. There was limited capability to develop container-based, Kubernetes managed, cloud native apps.
Today, re-platforming and migrating environments to the cloud provides a simple answer for more cost- effect model for IT departments to attenuate compute, storage, and networking to match the exact needs for capacity. This model provides an immediate answer for mitigating disaster recovery and continuity of operations without additional cost for duplicative data center investment. FedRAMP High Authorized and DISA Impact Level 6 accreditation, along with private network for Civilian and DoD, provides immediate answer for cloud-based operations across all agencies and institutions. The secure nature of cloud solutions delivers documentable compliance for security auditors.
Near-future plans for operating estates in cloud solutions offer a unique, globally consistent availability of high-performance and published SLAs to connect to cloud services.
Long range, future plans for VMware environments might include the full capability to develop and operate container-based, Kubernetes managed, cloud-native apps along with HPC workloads. These require high-performance, low-latency networks important to genomics and epidemiology mapping and research, metropolitan traffic monitoring, public spaces facial recognition systems and more.
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