This blog post is an excerpt from a sponsor of our latest IT modernization guide.
Technology is the backbone of nearly everything we do in our personal lives, and we expect to have fast, reliable and updated IT to support our evolving needs.
However, easy access to newer technologies has not always existed in the public sector due to the baggage that comes with having decades-old systems. Plus, managing an enterprise as massive and complex as the federal government creates inherent challenges — many of which require agencies to rethink how they embrace newer technologies and processes to solve those chronic issues.
Those issues include deciding how to replenish the workforce once seasoned professionals retire and ensuring that government services meet or exceed citizens’ expectations. Considering these challenges, where do agencies begin?
For a growing number of organizations, the answer has come in the cloud — a crucial part of IT Modernization
GovLoop recently sat down with Tim Bock, Dell Public Alliance Manager at Virtustream. Virtustream, a Dell Technologies business, provides cloud computing infrastructure and services to government agencies and specializes in creating secure public, private or hybrid cloud environments. Bock discussed how moving to the cloud positions agencies to maximize the skills and resources they have in-house for high-level mission tasks.
While cloud isn’t a magic solution to every issue government faces, it helps agencies think more strategically about how to work efficiently, Bock explained. “Cloud is not the end-all, be-all, but it is an enabling technology for changing the way agencies do business.”
If you’re forced to do more with less, you can move some of your workloads into the cloud — freeing up employees to spend more time on their core job functions and less time on mundane tasks or troubleshooting tech issues that cloud providers are better equipped to handle, he said. This means more time for strategic efforts like developing and improving applications, especially those that support citizens’ interactions with government agencies.
From a cost and capacity standpoint, clouds with consumption-based pricing enable agencies to only pay for what they use and buy scalable services that can meet changing capacity needs, rather than widgets and physical infrastructure that cannot quickly accommodate increased capacity and storage requirements. A secure, multi-tenant cloud environment provides even greater economies of scale because agencies can benefit from sharing the cost of the supporting infrastructure.
However, cost alone isn’t the only driving force behind government’s cloud adoption. With a move to the cloud comes an added level of security and monitoring from cloud service providers, particularly those that have met the government’s rigorous security and compliance standards.
For agencies that are understaffed or do not have automated tools to enhance their security efforts, cloud service providers like Virtustream can help to fill in those gaps, Bock said. They have the staff and tools to monitor their data centers 24/7 and ensure that service level agreements (SLAs) are met, whether it’s meeting expectations for uptime or performance-based SLAs.
Performance-based SLAs are especially important for maintaining the enterprise applications that agencies depend on because they detail how an app should function. “Building a platform that’s tailored to provide performance-based SLAs for enterprise apps is really where Virtustream shines,” Bock said.
To guarantee that applications will run the way they are intended, vendors must understand the nuances of applications built for a specific platform or device, he added. Once an agency migrates to the cloud with Virtustream, they can decide whether to leave their applications as is or make any changes.
Government agencies often assume they can lift and shift their applications into any large vendor’s cloud environment, but that is not always the case. Agencies must often significantly transform the way their applications are written to truly take advantage of what cloud environments offer. With Virtustream, agencies have more flexibility to maintain existing app architectures or transform them. They can also take advantage of full encryption across their entire platform and leverage Intel’s Trusted Execution Technology, which helps protect against vulnerabilities that threaten virtual machines.
The reality is that cloud and security can co-exist. The maturity of cloud computing has made offerings such as multi-tenancy a secure and cost-effective option to support government’s modernization journey.