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FCW : April 15, 2015
AFleagle: It depends. Take the example of an agency that experiences spikes of activity, which could happen during tax season, healthcare enrollment season, or during times of emergency or conflict at the Department of Homeland Security. During steady- state times, that agency might be running in a dedicated cloud environment where they know exactly what they are paying for on a monthly basis. However, when spikes occur, they can be easily switched to a multi-tenant cloud to take advantage of instant scalability and on-demand provisioning of additional resources. It’s the concept of owning the base and renting the spike, which can be very cost- effective. ABoissy: An enterprise approach to cloud also allows agencies to share resources more easily, which can save a lot of money. For example, an agency may have several divi- sions, each using its own email sys- tem, payroll system and SharePoint sites. With an enterprise approach and a shared services strategy, that agency can drive real efficiencies by eliminating duplication. The cloud helps achieve this because it allows all divisions to access resources from a central place. It also frees agencies from geographic constraints. QWhat about the huge investments agencies have made in technology and the skills to implement and manage that technol- ogy? As we get deeper into the cloud era, does this mean that all of those investments are now ob- solete? AFleagle: Most agencies have made a significant investment in virtualization as a way to consolidate and automate data centers, and that is something that definitely isn’t lost when moving to the cloud. Take the example of VMware. The vast majority of government has standardized on VMware, so migrating to the cloud using VMware vCloud® Government Service provided by CarpathiaTM does a good job of leveraging an agency’s existing technology investment. It can knock down cost hurdles and agency staff doesn’t have to be retrained or learn new technology. QWhen you have dif- ferent cloud solutions in different departments, doesn’t management be- come tricky? ABoissy: Right now, it can be complicated because many solutions have their own monitoring tools and alerting tools, and different user populations use the data differently. Technical users just want to know how much a CPU is spiking or whether the SQL database is down, while the finance people want to see CapEx and OpEx data, and executives want to see all of that information at a higher level. Vendors are starting to work toward the “single pane of glass” approach where everybody will get the data they need from one dashboard, but it’s taking some time. Vendors are also getting smarter about offering APIs where they can have their data ported into other programs so it can be presented in a single view. If you could offer a few pieces of advice to agen- cies about cloud comput- ing, what would it be? AFleagle: Strongly consider a hybrid approach. It’s the most flexible model for government. With this model, a cloud service operator can provide different cloud scenarios within the same data center, from private cloud and public cloud to a bare metal virtualized environment. A hybrid model can connect any combination of those over a Layer 2 connection at a nominal fee, with zero latency and maximum flexibility. ABoissy: There are two reasons why cloud migrations fail. The first reason is if an agency leaves it solely to the IT department to make the decision. Instead, it should be a business decision that includes input from not only IT, but finance, legal, procurement and the executive team. The second reason for failure is not understanding your own environment. By understanding only what you have, you can get to the point where you have a clear agenda of what you are trying to accomplish. If you don’t do that before starting on your cloud journey, you’re less likely to be successful. Q&A: The Cloud For more information, visit www.carpathia.com/learn/vmware-vcloud
March 30, 2015
April 30, 2015