We’ve talked extensively on this blog about the benefits of cloud computing and why a foray into the cloud is the future for all organizations in both the private and public sector.
However, for many public sector entities, from state and local governments to federal agencies, there are significant concerns about a move to the cloud. Many of these concerns are about security of sensitive data and losing control of the datacenter.
Control doesn’t have to be a stumbling bock for cloud adoption. Cloud is nothing more than the aggregation and delivery of infrastructure services as a utility model. At the end of the day, there’s only a few moving pieces, including: applications, computing, routing/switching, storage, metering, billing, chargeback and resource allocation.
Every large data center environment has some mix of these assets today, but many of them are completely underutilized. To retain total control of your cloud you need to obtain total control of the assets in your datacenter environment and utilize them to their maximum efficiency.
Step 1 – Virtualize: Virtualize your application and compute layers by deploying hypervisor technology. Enlist the help of your user community and identify a collection of applications that are consuming the most physical property and plant to model the effort. Measure the results.
Step 2 – Consolidate storage: Virtualized and consolidated environments benefit from consolidated storage. Provision a storage system built and designed to work in concert with your hypervisor technology. A consolidated storage system can be acquired for between $200 – $2 Million depending upon your organization needs.
Step 3 – Embrace virtual networking: Consider a networking topology in support of your new virtualized environment by leveraging virtual networking. Cisco, Arista and other vendors have delivered very powerful virtual switching technology that your organization could take advantage of.
Step 4 – Metering: Have a team of developers build your own metering, billing, chargeback and provisioning system.
Step 5 – Authority to Operate: Get the whole system accredited, patched and otherwise authorized to operate.
This seems like a lot of work to have total control of your cloud environment. Here’s an easier way:
Phase 1: Architecture matters. Does your security posture demand that data sets stay inside of your perimeter or can they be shared publicly?
Phase 2: Retask your existing assets to cloud enable them. If you do not have any existing assets, or are building a new environment, consider an integrated stack offering.
Phase 3: Measure and inspect the impact on the hard costs and uptime stats that are important to your mission. Do not be afraid to measure speed of provisioning. Remember, cloud is as much a technology as it is a business model.
If cloud assets live inside of your organizations perimeter, you can leverage your existing authorize/authenticate/audit systems. Also consider adding object based interfaces like SOAP and REST to future proof the environment.