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FCW : February 2014
Commentary | JENN ALLEN JENN ALLEN is the cloud service broker practice leader for HP Enterprise Services' U.S. Public Sector. As government agencies work to become more agile, ef cient and cost-effective, cloud adoption has become an increasingly important part of the federal IT agenda --- and rightfully so. Cloud computing has the power to transform the way the government does business and the way it delivers services to the American people despite resource constraints. In fact, research by IDC Govern- ment Insights shows that by 2018, the government will decrease tra- ditional IT spending by 15 percent and redirect spending to the cloud. Despite the need to rapidly provision cloud service technolo- gies, the public sector s adoption of cloud computing has been slowed by questions about acquisition pol- icy, nancial management, service- level agreements (SLAs) and IT sprawl. Cloud brokers, which act as intermediaries between the buy- ers of a cloud computing service and the sellers of that service, are emerging as the key to deliver- ing secure, ef cient, cost-effective cloud and IT services to the U.S. public sector. Cloud brokers can help the gov- ernment reduce costs, manage IT sprawl and use resources in a more ef cient manner --- all while provid- ing the best value to taxpayers. • Reducing costs. Cloud brokers can help manage the acquisition process by giving government agencies access to multiple cloud vendors through one contract vehicle or through multiple draw- down accounts governed by busi- ness rules and policies that ensure compliance with the Antide ciency Act. A robust, broker-provided nancial reporting and budgeting policy can remove acquisition bar- riers and allow for the timely provi- sioning of cloud or IT services. Cloud brokers also enable agen- cies to search a catalog of avail- able services based on speci c, client-de ned requirements to see what is available and then rate or score potentially applicable services based on criteria such as cost, security, geo-location and SLAs. The ability to dynamically shift workloads based on client- established criteria also helps to decrease costs --- an important consideration for the government --- and enable customers to use the services they need when they need them. • Managing IT sprawl. As acquisi- tion barriers continue to inhibit the timely provisioning of cloud and IT services, government agencies are experiencing an increase in IT sprawl. Cloud brokers can help agencies decrease IT spending and sprawl by providing a single, com- prehensive view of agencies cloud- based assets, costs and SLAs. Cloud brokers also enable ex- ible capacity by helping organiza- tions securely manage the level of service they receive, as well as the cost. By moving toward a cloud model in which the broker man- ages the cloud process, the govern- ment also has the opportunity to free up the workforce to take on other projects. • Using resources more ef - ciently. Cloud brokers enable agencies to cost-effectively create a hybrid ecosystem through an IT environment that takes advantage of traditional, private, commu- nity and public cloud services. A combination of dynamic workload management, agency-de ned pol- icy engines, and rules and service management will enable agencies to control costs while meeting mis- sion needs. In essence, by using a cloud broker, agencies will be able to better optimize their IT services. As government agencies con- tinue to consider the cloud acquisi- tion and contracting process, the advantages of cloud brokers will become increasingly important in the strategic decision-making pro- cess. The more contracting of cers understand the bene ts and con- siderations for cloud and IT, the better the contracts will be written and managed --- and the better the value will be for the government. ■ Cloud brokers: Stretching the bene ts beyond IT Brokers are becoming an integral part of helping the public sector realize the full bene ts of cloud technology Cloud brokers can help the government reduce costs, manage IT sprawl and use resources in a more efficient manner. February 2014 FCW.COM 13
March 15, 2014