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FCW : November and December 2015
CLOUD COMPUTING GameChanger CLOUD TECHNOLOGY DRIVES GOVERNMENT INNOVATION SPONSORED CONTENT Agencies Move Toward Cloud Interoperability and Integration s more federal agencies successfully move workloads to the cloud, they are beginning to realize the true benefits of cloud technology— scalability, cost savings, security and efficiency. A Despite the Cloud First initiative and more choices of FedRAMP-approved secure clouds, full-scale adoption of cloud technology is still elusive. Besides security, some agency CIOs worry about whether their legacy applications and data sets can fully migrate fully to the cloud. They’re also concerned with whether multiple cloud instances within an agency will work together without compatibility issues. Vendors and standards organizations are taking those concerns to heart. And they are making progress in eliminating those barriers. In the meantime, agencies can get these benefits by ensuring the cloud technologies they’re using work together well. One example is the close relationship between EMC, Dell, VMware and Virtustream. These companies recently came together in a series of mergers that ensure their combined technology stack will integrate seamlessly. EMC’s strength in traditional storage infrastructure and Dell’s strength in computing technology, combined with VMware and Virtustream—a FedRAMP-approved public cloud provider—are a solid combination. Together, these solutions provide agencies with a full spectrum of options across public, private and hybrid cloud— as well as traditional IT infrastructure. Adding Virtustream to the stack holds particular appeal for federal agencies. In addition to FedRAMP certification, Virtustream offers a secure way to move even mission-critical applications to the cloud. This is now part of EMC’s Federation Enterprise Cloud solution. FIND THE RIGHT FIT While the Dell/EMC/VMware/ irtustream stack is an excellent way to ensure integration and interoperability aren’t deal-killing issues, it’s not the only option. In fact, as FedRAMP certifies more public cloud solutions, there are more possibilities all the time. More choices are always better, but too many choices can complicate the decision-making process. That’s when it becomes particularly important to work with a partner that understands not only the technology options, but an agency’s specific requirements and approach. The hardest part of a federal CIO’s job is making the business case for IT while considering the Cloud First initiative and the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA). Part of making the business case is determining the most cost-effective and efficient use of cloud. That means not only the best IT delivery model for each given IT service, but also which vendors can deliver the best solution. CDW-G works with every major manufacturer and offers federal agencies as much support as necessary to find the best solution. Broad knowledge of technology and federal requirements are particularly important when it comes to security. “The underlying infrastructure has to be able to accommodate whatever security parameters the CIO and CISO require, whether that’s a FedRAMP baseline or something much higher,” says Jack Nichols, Manager of Cloud Services for federal/state/local/education and healthcare at CDW-G. “Wherever they set the bar, we have to come up with a solution that meets those requirements.” LOOKING AHEAD The industry is making real progress in removing integration and interoperability barriers between cloud providers through open source software and standards. As vendors continue to work on ways for organizations to move seamlessly between cloud providers, agencies can look forward to a day when vendor lock-in will be a thing of the past. “We’re getting there. When it happens, agencies won’t have to worry about locking themselves into longterm contracts,” says Nichols. “Instead, when cost and other advantages present themselves, agencies will be able to switch cloud providers without worrying about portability, interoperability or security.” Shutterstock.com