Page 16 - GCN, May 2016
P. 16

Automation is the answer to the continued push for data center consolidation and delivering cloud-based services.
GOVERNMENT AGENCIES find themselves at an interesting intersection of the forces of technology and security. On one hand, agencies are being pushed to
observe more stringent security guidelines to avoid breaches of public trust, core infrastructure, and national secrets.
On the other hand, there’s an ongoing drive for data center consolidation and a movement toward shared, cloud-based services. These have become a cornerstone of the government’s need to balance the fiduciary crunch with constitu- ents’ needs and expectations.
Even in this virtualized world, deploying resources within data centers can still take days, weeks or months. Securing workloads and infrastructure continues to be a cus- tomized process. There’s little in the way of repeatable processes as projects move from development to user acceptance and on to final production environments.
Moving these workloads and processes into cloud environments often finds us no better than when we started—and possibly spending more on operations and maintenance than
in our own data center. In fact, many of the “cloud” implementations of today are little more than a workload lift and shift; reminis- cent of managed services providers.
When these outsourcing strategies improve processes and provide greater return on in- vestment, they’re a smart move. But let’s not confuse the two. Too often cloud approaches are boiled down to lowering the total cost
of ownership of individual servers or virtual machines. They don’t take the leap of truly laying the foundation for innovation and holistically lowering the TCO.
At first glance, it would seem these priorities and their solutions are divergent. In fact, success with both lies in how you manage and
automate your existing data center. Rest as- sured—the future is bright, and the cloud offers the federal government immense adaptability, agility, and efficiency.
It all depends on how federal IT administra- tors choose to view the cloud, and the steps they take to implement a cloud strategy. Automating deployment, security and application lifecycle management helps prepare agencies and their workloads for cloud deployment. Those same steps will also make cloud migration and moves between clouds successful.
Much of how you reap the benefits of cloud deployments will depend heavily on your abil- ity to automate cloud resource usage. If your virtual servers require human interaction
for provisioning or updating, seek tooling to automate those processes. The same goes for application deployment and scaling.
Automation is the name of the game when it comes to the cloud. As soon as a user has to log into a cloud-based server, the value is diminished. The good news is you can devel- op these practices within your existing data centers. All you need is new tooling to build a Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) infrastructure.
Take a staged approach to cloud adoption. Start small. Choose a small, user focused ap- plication (aka system of engagement) you can use to build a proof point around both cloud and agile development approaches.
In the beginning, stay away from applications that require wholesale change to existing data and application infrastructure. Success will breed success. You can build subsequent appli- cation migrations on the patterns and proce- dures you develop in the process of successfully moving these workloads.
Adam Clater is the Chief Cloud Architect, North America Public Sector, Red Hat.

   14   15   16   17   18