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FCW : April 30, 2015
23 > managing partner and federal industry leader for IBM Global Business Services. “It was clear there would have to be a better understanding what and where all that hardware and software was in order to close down any security issues.” Centralizing, consolidating and optimizing hardware, software and data centers enables IT departments to manage security effectively and get a better understanding of what data is being accessed by whom. Several large cloud providers, including IBM and HP, have set up cloud computing data centers specifically for public-sector use. These facilities meet stringent standards such as the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) and Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) requirements. IBM recently opened SoftLayer federal cloud centers in Ashburn, Va. and Dallas. Savings have come not only from reduced data center hardware and software costs but also reduc tions in the real estate needed to house IT infrastruc ture. Agencies also have made significant strides in improving the efficiency of powering and cooling their data centers. But saving money is only one goal of the initiative. Centralized infrastructure management has helped to optimize operations within data centers, and the efficiency gains have also reduced the time and resources needed to get new applications and initiatives up and running. Many of the efficiencies come from virtualization, which allows organizations to combine multiple physical servers as virtual machines to provision computing and storage for applications from a single virtual storage pool. Software- defined networking and network virtualization are bringing the same pooling capabilities to the network. Agencies are also finding that they can transfer capital costs to operational expenses by taking advantage of cloud services such as Infrastructure, Software and Platform as a Service (IaaS, SaaS, PaaS). Instead of taking weeks to purchase and install new servers, IT staff can provision hardware and software in minutes. Security and Business Transformation Another big payoff of consolidation is enhanced cybersecurity, a major concern as agencies face constant threats from increasingly sophisticated and well-funded cyberattackers. “ Five years ago, there were far too many federal data centers to secure, especially with scattered servers running in a closet or under a desk in many agencies,” s ays Luanne Pavco, CDWG.com | 800.808.4239 CLOUD FIRST APPROACH The Cloud First policy established by the December 2010 25- Point Implementation Plan to Reform Federal IT Management required agencies to implement cloud-based solutions whenever a secure, reliable and cost-effective cloud option existed. It directed agencies to begin re-evaluating and modifying their individual IT budget strategies to include cloud computing. Agencies responded by greatly increasing their cloud adoption. IDC has predicted that by 2017, agencies will spend $7.7 billion on cloud services. According to a December 2014 Government Business Council report, Lessons Learned in Federal Cloud Adoption, most agencies started their cloud migrations with what might be called low-hanging fruit — applications that were low-risk, could be moved easily and benefited from cloud scalability and flexibility. 62 percent of the report’s respondents work for agencies that deployed email in cloud, while 46 percent deployed data storage, 42 percent collaboration tools and 39 percent web servers. According to InformationWeek, however, the low-hanging fruit stage is ending, as agencies move to hosting more important applications in the cloud. Roughly 33 percent of agencies have deployed what they consider mission-critical applications in the cloud, according to the Government Business Council report. This trend is likely due to the emergence of specialized FedRAMP- and FISMA-compliant cloud offerings from vendors such as IBM, HP and others as well as federal community cloud services. 22-25 GSO MKT14F099.indd 2 3/4/15 3:57 PM
April 15, 2015
May 15, 2015