Cloud Solution forFederal GovernmentThe Gravitant Way Ilyas Iyoob, PhD Sowmya Rao While cloud computing offers many advantages, the path to cloud adoption presents many challenges. In a single platform, Gravitants tools cut through the complexity to enable government agencies to quantify demand, plan capacity, procure IT services, provision on-demand, and manage and optimize IT services. Already successfully implemented at 11940 Jollyville Road multiple Texas state agencies, Gravitant’s cloudMatrix tool Austin, TX 78727 increases agency responsiveness and optimizes costs while increasing capital and operational efficiencies. Even at the (512) 535 7399 federal level, cloudMatrix can help government firstname.lastname@example.org improve the experience of leveraging cloud IT.
IntroductionCurrently the federal government’s IT is “…characterized by low asset utilization, fragmenteddemand for resources, difficult to manage environments, low procurement times, and adecreasing IT budget.” These issues have an adverse effect on agency ability to serve the publicin a timely and efficient manner. With the recent paradigm shift in IT from physical data centersto virtualized data centers in the cloud, government agencies can take advantage of on-demandprovisioning of platforms, software, applications, data and other services while controllingresources, cost and meeting ever changing demands. By allowing federal agencies to own lessand do more, cloud computing has the potential to address current inefficiencies and improvegovernment service delivery. However, despite the many benefits of these IT advances, government agencies face challenges in their path to adopting cloud. For example, improper or insufficient cloud planning may result in high migration cost and vendor lock-in. Further challenges may arise for users already running in the cloud such Key Features of a Secure Cloud as VM sprawl and unexpected licensing costs. Issues Environment for the Federal surrounding governance such as provider non- Government compliance and chargeback also require further understanding and clarification. 1. Multi-provider provisioning & compliance As a comprehensive response to these challenges and 2. Fed-certified cloud providers others, Gravitant has created cloudMatrixTM - the 3. Integration with existing data- industry’s first Cloud Operating Environment (COE), centers – private/hybrid clouds which has been successfully implemented at multiple 4. Connectivity to existing security Texas state agencies. frameworks 5. Complete cost transparency Using Gravitant tools, agencies can perform pre - 6. Recalibration based on historical migration screening, capacity planning, cross provider data application deployment, auto provisioning, consolidated billing, utilization and cost monitoring, Visit the Gravitant Blog for full article chargeback, and governance through command and control dashboards.As a result, the federal government can effectively meet demand while optimizing the IT supplychain for agility, responsiveness, and cost while maintaining acceptable levels of service. 2
Path to the CloudGravitant’s process of cloud migration and ongoing operations management involves screening,planning, solution configuration, sourcing, monitoring and governance. Recalibration is anotherimportant step to ensure continuous improvement and course correction.Screening & PlanningFrom reducing costs to optimizing performance, the advantages of cloud technology areplentiful. But not all applications are suitable for the cloud. Certain operating systems andinfrastructure combinations are more cloud friendly than others. Moreover, some applicationshave many dependencies and can be migrated only if the dependent applications are migratedas well. Thus, for federal agencies to get the most out of this solution, it is important they planahead and first determine which applications are even cloud-compatible.Gravitant’s cloudScreenTM tool specifically helps agencies assess an application portfolio forcloud feasibility and value to ultimately determine the best candidates for cloud migration.Taking factors of operating systems, infrastructure and application dependencies intoconsideration, cloudScreenTM evaluates application feasibility in the cloud, identifies the targetinfrastructure, estimates cloud readiness and value to finally select the best candidateapplication for cloud migration within the given budget and time constraints.Once a target application has been identified, federal agencies can build a business case formigration beginning with capacity planning - a vital component of cloud computing adoptionthat involves understanding necessary cloud resource requirements in order to meet the 3
anticipated demand. Proper planning allows federal agencies to predict their reserved capacityrequirements and allocate IT budgets to cost-effectively meet agency goals while minimizingrisk. Using Gravitant’s cloudWizTM tool, federal agencies can predict the cost and revenueimpact of replacing physical servers with a cloud solution.Agencies can also compare cloud service providers side-by-side with respect to cost and qualityof service. The optimization models are designed to automatically filter out providers that donot satisfy constraints and propose a set of optimal providers based on user defined goals.Finally, the expected ROI is estimated which provides the basis for a cloud migration businesscase.While cloudScreenTM and cloudWizTM are designed specifically to help with the screening andplanning stages of the cloud migration process, cloudMatrixTM serves as the Cloud OperatingEnvironment for the remainder of the migration and operations management process.Using automation, cloudMatrix delivers efficient cloud planning, sourcing, monitoring,application architecture deployment and governance processes for accelerated adoption andvalue-based control of cloud business models.Learn more in our “Intro to the Business of the Cloud” whitepaper found on CloudBook.net.Solution Configuration & SourcingGravitant’s cloudMatrixTM connects many cloud service providers into a standardized catalogand then exposes it through a simple drag and drop design interface for agencies to create theirown unique cloud solution across multiple providers. The interface is essentially a one stopshop for IT managers to design, order, provision and manage all their IT resources. 4
The intuitive nature of the interface allows complex application architecture to be designedacross multiple providers in minutes. New environments and architectural layers can beintroduced into the custom architecture with compute, network, and storage resourcesfollowed by the addition of ancillary services such as shared storage, VPN security, VLANnetwork, and backup etc.Furthermore, the simulation capability in cloudMatrixTM allows agency IT managers to modelthe application architecture and view the estimated cost prior to placing the order. As a result,multiple scenarios can be simulated to identify the most desirable application architecture.Once an order is placed, an automated order workflow and approvals process kicks in requiringtechnical, legal, and financial approvals. The approvers will be notified before the order issubmitted to the cloud service provider(s). At the end of each month, the agency will receiveone consolidated bill across all the providers for the application deployed on the cloud.Monitoring & GovernanceMonitoring and governance capabilities with real time visibility into virtual machineperformance are essential for agencies to identify problems in multiple clouds before theseissues impact SLAs and QoS. With cloudMatrix, agencies can assign resources upfront to trackactual resource utilization and cost across applications and providers. The inbuilt chargebackmechanism allocates cost among the applications based on agency defined budget rules. As aresult, agencies can track provider performance through SLA compliance and quarantinenoncompliant providers.In addition, cloudMatrixTM allows agencies to go back at any time through a feedbackmechanism whenever cloud capacity requirements change or when a selected provider fails tomeet expectations. Agencies can recalibrate their reserved capacity and provider selectionbased on real-time monitored data values. This control is essential for federal agencies as iteliminates vendor lock-in and ensures minimal cost through constant course correction.ConclusionWith IT projects costing hundreds of millions of dollars, taking years to deploy and deliveringpotentially outdated technologies and solutions by the time of deployment, the federalgovernment especially can benefit from the advantages of cloud computing. Gravitant’s cloudplanning and management tools currently in place at a number of Texas state agencies havesimplified and automated the cloud adoption process. We believe the federal government canleverage this success and use Gravitant’s technology to navigate seamlessly into the cloud. 5