Re-Thinking How Your Organization Delivers Services

GovLoop's recent guide, How Cloud is Reinventing Government, explores the how cloud is helping agencies unlock innovation and improve service delivery. The report includes four government case studies, best practices and insights from industry leaders. Below is an excerpt from our guide. Read the full report here.

Faced with declining budgets and revenues, Chief Technology Officers, Chief Information Officers and information technology system managers are being forced to re-evaluate IT systems and discover new ways to cut costs. As a result, many government agencies are turning to cloud computing as a means to re-think the way their organization delivers technology services.

“Government is turning to the cloud in an effort to reduce cost and improve efficiency,” said Kirk Kern, chief technology officer, NetApp U.S. Public Sector, in an interview with GovLoop. “They are starting to look at new ways to bring systems online to improve IT service delivery by using private clouds within their data centers. In other cases they’re turning to public clouds, where the data and the services can be generated entirely over the network and then delivered from an off-premise resource to their agency.”

Added Kern, “In many cases, we’re also seeing hybrid approaches where the agencies are consuming elastic and on demand public cloud services, while still retaining some on premise compute, or data storage capabilities.”

Although many agencies have made the move to the cloud, some are still dealing with many challenges in cloud adoption. One main hurdle can be identifying the right kinds of workloads to move to the cloud, and making a decision on what will help a government agency with their mission.

“The services or the workloads that the government is attempting to migrate to the cloud, or to leverage cloud resources, are no longer constrained [by application]. Virtually all services are being evaluated for migration to the cloud,” said Kern.

These services include everything from accounting and finance, payroll, personnel databases, communication systems or any service that is part of the mission function of an agency. Ultimately, this move to cloud is occurring because of the pressures on government administrators to identify cost savings. As more services become virtualized, it is important to remember that although the service is in the cloud, agencies must still pay close attention to data management.

“As computer services are becoming stateless, the data management and the ability to move information across clouds [is important],” Kern explained. “IT professionals still have to come up with techniques in order to accomplish [moving data]. Even with today’s networks, in order to move a petabyte from one data center to another, many customers find that it’s cost prohibitive, and that they can’t afford to move a petabyte in a timely fashion, or in some cases, these datasets are just so large you cannot move them.”

One of the ways to avoid this obstacle is to be sure that your organization has selected the right workload for cloud migration and right size for your cloud solution. “A lot of times agencies need to take a step back and start with their organization or agency’s goals or mission,” Kern said. “From there you can define the services required to support those goals. That has more value than just picking an individual service, because it’s actually going to help the agency accomplish its task.”

For government agencies, Avnet Government Solutions is uniquely positioned to help agencies adopt the cloud. “For private and hybrid clouds, we provide the infrastructure solutions that enable cloud in agency data centers, we provide pre-integration of infrastructure services, we provide professional services to design and develop an agencies CloudOS approach, the automation, service catalog integration with other clouds and the business alignment required for successful cloud implementation,” said Darren House, director of solutions management, Avnet Government Solutions. “Whether an agency needs private, hybrid, public or any combination, Avnet Government Solutions has the technology, services and financial solutions that will help agencies adopt cloud.”

To continue to expedite adoption of the cloud in the public sector, agencies must continue to align cloud to mission need, and then partner with a vendor who can provide the security, flexibility and scalability required to meet the needs of the public sector.

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