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Easing the Transition to XaaS

The following blog post is an excerpt from a recent GovLoop resource: Your Guide to Using Everything-as-a-Service. In the guide, we explore how agencies can maximize the benefits of cloud technology by creating a holistic everything-as-a-service (XaaS) strategy.

An interview with Darren House, Director of Solution Management at Avnet Government Solutions

Cloud is now the aggregation and incubation point for organizations to change business models and work more effectively. Despite the efficiencies cloud solutions can offer, the transition of services to this innovative new environment can be taxing on an organization.

To discuss how government agencies can ease the cloud transition, we spoke with Darren House from Avnet Government Solutions, a value-added solutions distributor focused on government markets. House emphasized that agencies should be selective in the services they transition to the cloud. “The cloud is really just one tool in the toolbox,” he explained. “It’s not a cure-all solution, but an enabler for optimization, efficiencies and transformation. It’s a means to an end. It’s not an end in itself.”

To determine where cloud could be an appropriate solution, agencies have to examine the needs of their mission. House said, “It’s an opportunity for an agency to strategically examine what its core mission is and the core skillset needed to achieve that mission, so a long-term plan to transition support services best-suited to a cloud service model can be determined.”

Ultimately, the agency must decide which services are core versus ancillary. But Avnet Government Solutions’ unique expertise can offer valuable guidance. “We have identified the main areas that are a natural for government agencies to transition into the cloud, outside of their core expertise. We have invested time and resources into developing these offerings. When our partners bring these solutions to government agencies, they are able help them more cost-effectively address their ancillary service needs, freeing the customer’s IT team to focus on their core mission,” said House. “One example is Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) Federal’s Cloud Services for Content Archiving, which provides enterprise data archiving capabilities at a lower cost than most organizations can provide for themselves.”

Moreover, a solutions distributor like Avnet Government Solutions can help value-added resellers (VARs) match cloud solutions to identified customer needs. “It’s really about categorizing and prioritizing the different areas of the service offerings in the market, and identifying which ones provide the clearest value to the organization,” House said.

This value is often determined by challenges facing government agencies. “We focus our enablement around the needs within the market. For example, the government is looking for Common Off The Shelf (COTS) solutions, integrated with some hyperscale/cloud elements tailored to government enterprise consumers. HDS Federal’s Hitachi Content Platform (HCP) Anywhere file synchronization solution provides the capabilities and features of DropBox or Google Docs, but tailored for the enterprise government customers,” said House.

Avnet Government Solutions links these challenges to the most optimal cloud solutions. House explained, “We have teams that know the technologies and how to get them implemented to support these needs. For example, we’re experts in the converged and hyperconverged markets that are emerging as the baseline infrastructure for the hybrid cloud architecture. HDS Federal’s Unified Compute Platform (UCP) and the recent announcement of their involvement with VMware’s EVO:RAILS in the hyperconverged market are the solutions government customers need to move data center consolidation, application rationalization, cloud-first efforts forward in order to grease the skids for XaaS.”

And while these packaged solutions are multi-faceted, Avnet Government Solutions ensures they will not add complexity to your agency. “We prebuild converged infrastructures, like HDS Federal UCP, for the VARs within our solutions center, and have it ship out to the government customer’s site, ready to go,” said House. “Avnet’s VAR partner can immediately start the application configuration and integration within the environment, reducing costs, complexity, risk and time-to-mission value.”

“Most agencies are going to have a hybrid cloud model,” House added. “They’re going to have some traditional IT, they’re going to have some private cloud, and they’re going to have some public cloud. The big part is how you manage and maintain these various solutions. By understanding the market need, the technologies that deliver on that need, and the VAR expertise in delivering and integrating solutions, Avnet Government Solutions is at the nexus of the move toward implementing technologies that will drive XaaS evolution.”

Ultimately, government organizations will have to dedicate time and resources to creating an effective XaaS infrastructure. However, the effort required to transition to the cloud can be drastically minimized by partnering with a value-added solutions distributor to identify areas of opportunity, increase your knowledge-base, and reduce the complexity of your cloud environment.

To learn more about XaaS strategies to optimize cloud, check out the full report: Your Guide to Using Everything-as-a-Service.

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