Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Kong Yang, Jason Bloomberg, Derek Weeks

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Containers Expo Blog

@CloudExpo: Article

Avoiding Turbulence in the Cloud

Cloud for government is about the right mix of public and private

According to a recent survey by the Ponemon Institute, many agencies still have significant reservations about moving essential information and functions to the public cloud. According to the poll, nearly half of respondents indicated that worries about security were the primary factor keeping them from fully migrating to the cloud.

What's interesting is that a large percentage of those surveyed indicated they weren't very confident about cloud-related cost savings. Some 73 percent of IT respondents were either unsure or not confident that they had an understanding of the long-term impact of moving to an external cloud. Even more troubling was that, of those that did think they knew, roughly three-fourths of IT respondents thought public cloud would have no, or a negative, impact on cost. So it's not just security, but the basic cost benefits of external cloud that is in doubt.

This fear of the cost of external clouds could be well-founded. Public cloud offerings are not technologically different than a modern virtualized data center paid for "as a service." Amazon,Google and others offer the same thing that an internal modern virtualized data center could offer, but just as OPEX (operating costs) instead of CAPEX (capital costs). The theory is that theeconomies of scale of those public cloud companies will drive down costs that can be passed onto customers.

That theory could have a fatal flaw for larger agencies that already get significant economies of scale. This figure represents a cost per user that goes down as the amount of users goes up.

So the cost per user is high when the user count is low, but is driven down as the user count grows and the economies of scale kick in. However, as many who are experienced in architecting solutions will tell you, the cost curve doesn't go down dramatically forever. At some point, it levels off. With the widespread usage of virtualization, the place that it levels off is definitely lower and provides more savings than in the past. The user count ‘dot' in that figure is now in the thousands, offering savings for agencies with only hundreds of users. However,the ‘dot' is not in the tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands where joining a public cloud would make a huge difference for larger agencies.

If that is true, then a private cloud offers a similar total cost of ownership as public clouds without introducing new security, network and information assurance problems.

Searching for the right place to take advantage
Because many organizations have not moved beyond the first stage of compliance, identifying situations or applications that could benefit from the public cloud is key.

One of the most obvious uses of a public cloud is a temporary holding place for data until a permanent solution is available. If an agency is building a new data center and cannot fit in itsexisting one while waiting for completion, they can rent IT space from a public cloud service to hold them over. That is essentially what a public cloud is, IT renting.

Another way agencies can move to using a public cloud offering is for secondary copies of the data. Disaster recovery and backup copies offsite can be relatively expensive to manage and host. This is where public cloud offerings could shine. In fact, it's probably the best reason for agencies to use public clouds. The systems agencies would use to house secondary copies willbe underutilized unless there is a failure at the primary site. That would allow for very dense virtualization and consolidation by the public cloud provider. The only danger would be ifmultiple agencies were to fail at once, overburdening the cloud provider.

Agencies can maintain network and information assurance needs on primary data, but this will not solve the security concerns of secondary data kept at the public cloud provider. There are public cloud providers that do offer hefty security compliance and guarantees, but not all do yet.Until more cloud providers offer more security guarantees, public cloud computing could remain more of a conversation, than a revolution, in IT.


The key is protecting your budget, as well as systems and data

What's sure though is that the current 37-percent level of server virtualization in the federal government is a great place to start saving money. Just bringing that to around 60 percent with private clouds could save up to $23 billion in IT spend for cash-strapped agencies. And that's not even taking into account desktop virtualization in private clouds that could save agencies even more.

Unfortunately, the recent survey by MeriTalk found less than half of federal IT managers were confident in the funding for further virtualization efforts. This situation might force agencies into making rash decisions for short-term savings, like moving production data into a public cloud for first-year savings without a thorough understanding of the issues and challenges.

Instead, agencies need to only move select IT functions to a public cloud by making calculated, well-informed decisions with a long-term view. If IT organizations in government take the time to think critically about public cloud, it could reap major benefits while avoiding some dangerous pitfalls. There's a mix of public and private cloud out there that's right for each agency. In time, and with some education, government will strike that balance.

More Stories By Jean-Paul Bergeaux

Jean-Paul Bergeaux is CTO at SwishData. With more than 15 years of experience in the technology industry, he joined the SwishData team to help streamline its alliance relationships and define a clear technical path and solution set for the organization. His career has been marked by success, mostly as a pre-sales Sales Executive, in federal data storage with ADIC (now Quantum), NetApp and, most recently, Commvault. In his Chief Technology Officer role with SwishData, Bergeaux focuses on identifying customers’ challenges and architecting innovative solutions to solve their complex problems. In addition, he is responsible for merging pre- and post-engineering capabilities with marketing to present a clear technical message to SwishData’s customers and partners.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@CloudExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Conference Guru has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. A valuable conference experience generates new contacts, sales leads, potential strategic partners and potential investors; helps gather competitive intelligence and even provides inspiration for new products and services. Conference Guru works with conference organi...
"MobiDev is a Ukraine-based software development company. We do mobile development, and we're specialists in that. But we do full stack software development for entrepreneurs, for emerging companies, and for enterprise ventures," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
"We focus on composable infrastructure. Composable infrastructure has been named by companies like Gartner as the evolution of the IT infrastructure where everything is now driven by software," explained Bruno Andrade, CEO and Founder of HTBase, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
It is ironic, but perhaps not unexpected, that many organizations who want the benefits of using an Agile approach to deliver software use a waterfall approach to adopting Agile practices: they form plans, they set milestones, and they measure progress by how many teams they have engaged. Old habits die hard, but like most waterfall software projects, most waterfall-style Agile adoption efforts fail to produce the results desired. The problem is that to get the results they want, they have to ch...
Wooed by the promise of faster innovation, lower TCO, and greater agility, businesses of every shape and size have embraced the cloud at every layer of the IT stack – from apps to file sharing to infrastructure. The typical organization currently uses more than a dozen sanctioned cloud apps and will shift more than half of all workloads to the cloud by 2018. Such cloud investments have delivered measurable benefits. But they’ve also resulted in some unintended side-effects: complexity and risk. ...
Cloud applications are seeing a deluge of requests to support the exploding advanced analytics market. “Open analytics” is the emerging strategy to deliver that data through an open data access layer, in the cloud, to be directly consumed by external analytics tools and popular programming languages. An increasing number of data engineers and data scientists use a variety of platforms and advanced analytics languages such as SAS, R, Python and Java, as well as frameworks such as Hadoop and Spark...
In 2014, Amazon announced a new form of compute called Lambda. We didn't know it at the time, but this represented a fundamental shift in what we expect from cloud computing. Now, all of the major cloud computing vendors want to take part in this disruptive technology. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Doug Vanderweide, an instructor at Linux Academy, discussed why major players like AWS, Microsoft Azure, IBM Bluemix, and Google Cloud Platform are all trying to sidestep VMs and containers wit...
No hype cycles or predictions of zillions of things here. IoT is big. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, Associate Partner at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data analytics considerations, edge-to-cloud tec...
When growing capacity and power in the data center, the architectural trade-offs between server scale-up vs. scale-out continue to be debated. Both approaches are valid: scale-out adds multiple, smaller servers running in a distributed computing model, while scale-up adds fewer, more powerful servers that are capable of running larger workloads. It’s worth noting that there are additional, unique advantages that scale-up architectures offer. One big advantage is large memory and compute capacity...
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists examined how DevOps helps to meet the de...
The taxi industry never saw Uber coming. Startups are a threat to incumbents like never before, and a major enabler for startups is that they are instantly “cloud ready.” If innovation moves at the pace of IT, then your company is in trouble. Why? Because your data center will not keep up with frenetic pace AWS, Microsoft and Google are rolling out new capabilities. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Don Browning, VP of Cloud Architecture at Turner, posited that disruption is inevitable for comp...
"When we talk about cloud without compromise what we're talking about is that when people think about 'I need the flexibility of the cloud' - it's the ability to create applications and run them in a cloud environment that's far more flexible,” explained Matthew Finnie, CTO of Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datanami has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datanami is a communication channel dedicated to providing insight, analysis and up-to-the-minute information about emerging trends and solutions in Big Data. The publication sheds light on all cutting-edge technologies including networking, storage and applications, and thei...
"We are a monitoring company. We work with Salesforce, BBC, and quite a few other big logos. We basically provide monitoring for them, structure for their cloud services and we fit into the DevOps world" explained David Gildeh, Co-founder and CEO of Outlyer, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Join us at Cloud Expo June 6-8 to find out how to securely connect your cloud app to any cloud or on-premises data source – without complex firewall changes. More users are demanding access to on-premises data from their cloud applications. It’s no longer a “nice-to-have” but an important differentiator that drives competitive advantages. It’s the new “must have” in the hybrid era. Users want capabilities that give them a unified view of the data to get closer to customers and grow business. The...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Silicon India has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Published in Silicon Valley, Silicon India magazine is the premiere platform for CIOs to discuss their innovative enterprise solutions and allows IT vendors to learn about new solutions that can help grow their business.
The Internet giants are fully embracing AI. All the services they offer to their customers are aimed at drawing a map of the world with the data they get. The AIs from these companies are used to build disruptive approaches that cannot be used by established enterprises, which are threatened by these disruptions. However, most leaders underestimate the effect this will have on their businesses. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rene Buest, Director Market Research & Technology Evangelism at Ara...
"We do one of the best file systems in the world. We learned how to deal with Big Data many years ago and we implemented this knowledge into our software," explained Jakub Ratajczak, Business Development Manager at MooseFS, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Five years ago development was seen as a dead-end career, now it’s anything but – with an explosion in mobile and IoT initiatives increasing the demand for skilled engineers. But apart from having a ready supply of great coders, what constitutes true ‘DevOps Royalty’? It’ll be the ability to craft resilient architectures, supportability, security everywhere across the software lifecycle. In his keynote at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Jeffrey Scheaffer, GM and SVP, Continuous Delivery Busine...