This blog post is an excerpt from GovLoop’s recent guide, “Taking Government Cloud Adoption to the Next Level.”
In government, the use of private and public cloud storage services has expanded in recent years – but both models have potential shortcomings. If government were to exclusively rely on private cloud storage, the system would likely be expensive and inflexible. Meanwhile, if government only used public cloud solutions, there would be a greater risk of data being lost or compromised.
The reality for most CIOs demands a hybrid cloud environment – a blend of on-premises, public, private and/or managed clouds. Because of this complex mix, not just any approach to cloud will do. Therefore, government agencies should employ a hybrid cloud delivery model that leverages the benefits of public cloud services such as ease of use and efficiency and the benefits of private cloud services such as increased security.
In a recent interview with GovLoop, Chris Wiedemann, Market Intelligence Consultant at immixGroup, a public sector software distributor, shared how agency leaders can develop and implement hybrid cloud solutions that fit their organizational needs. If agencies assess their cloud needs, choose vendors with interoperability, and translate benefits to their constituents, then they will be able to effectively use the hybrid cloud model to transform their organization.
The first step to any hybrid cloud migration is to complete a readiness assessment that evaluates what information, data and workflows are currently stored in public or private cloud systems, according to Wiedemann. Then, agencies need to develop migration roadmaps that include a strategic, unified way to manage the transition. This process will also help leaders determine what information can be stored in public cloud environments and what information needs to be more tightly secured in private cloud environments.
“Creating a migration roadmap can take a while, but agencies that have successfully completed cloud migrations say that without the legwork upfront, they could not have achieved a scalable, enterprise level migration,” Wiedemann said.
Next, agencies need to select private and public vendors for their information, data, and workflows. The most important part of this process though is ensuring that the vendors have interoperable cloud systems. From observing the market, he has found that some providers offer systems with more interoperable capabilities than others, and if an agency selects systems without strong interoperability, then the agency is susceptible to vendor lock.
Vendor lock can increase system maintenance costs over time and reduce an agency’s ability to migrate information between cloud systems and providers. That’s why Wiedemann has noticed, “Customers are starting to look at how to successfully migrate workloads and data into the cloud and ensure that they can move the workloads and data into a different cloud environment, if needed.”
The hybrid cloud model is successful because it reduces deployment costs and creates a culture around easy data and workload migration rather than a large-scale agreement with one vendor. immixGroup helps agencies avoid vendor lock by connecting them with providers that offer flexible cloud options. Oracle is unique in the market because of its complete-cloud approach, offering not only PaaS, but also SaaS, IaaS, and public/private options.
Migration to a hybrid cloud model is further enabled by platform-as-a-service technology. The Oracle Cloud Platform offers the functional breadth and depth of services agencies require, along with tools personnel are already familiar with. That allows organizations to take full advantage of the cloud. Oracle’s integrated approach also lets customers easily migrate on-premises applications to the cloud – and back, if that’s what they need.
Lastly, Wiedemann advised that government translate the benefits of the hybrid cloud model to their constituents through improved customer service. That means agencies should invest financial savings from migrating to the cloud into advancing the mission and ensuring that their digital services are keeping up with new technology trends.
Agencies that embrace cloud-based platforms become nimbler. They can focus on delivering better services more rapidly to their internal and external constituents, without the complexity of managing underlying application platforms and disconnected systems. Developers can build applications more quickly and cost-effectively, citizens can more easily access data that improves their lives, and organizations can enhance employee productivity and automate business processes.
By completing a readiness assessment and migration roadmap, selecting vendors with interoperable cloud products, and translating savings and benefits to constituents, agencies can leverage hybrid cloud models to improve information storage and digital services. Neither public or private cloud models perfectly serve government’s needs, but hybrid cloud solutions enabled by platform-as-a-service providers such as Oracle can enhance agencies by ensuring that information, data, and workflows are efficiently managed and effectively secured.
“There is finally a realization in government agencies at the leadership and strategic level that hybrid cloud solutions are the inevitable endpoint of where agency IT systems are heading.”
For more information about taking cloud to the next level, you can find the full guide here.