Guest Blogger: Adelaide O’Brien, Research Director, Government Digital Transformation Strategies at IDC

Adelaide O'Brien IDC

Through her work at IDC, Adelaide drives better understanding of the full scope of efforts needed for digital transformation. This includes focusing on innovative technologies like Big Data, AI, cognitive, and cloud in the context of government. Her research includes threats and opportunities facing government ecosystems in leveraging agency information as a critical asset, allowing stakeholders to make better decisions, providing better services and experiences for constituents, and reacting in real time to limit liabilities and manage risks.

This is the second in a two-part series addressing how to make multi-cloud work for government, covering hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) as an iterative step beyond converged infrastructure. Read part one here.

How multi-cloud can benefit government

Government entities at all levels are challenged with making operations more responsive and effective. Today for many agencies, the question isn’t whether to move to cloud, but what services can be deployed more efficiently via cloud versus traditional IT. Moreover, the cloud service should provide the agency with additional capabilities to better serve citizens with less internal cost and fewer resources.

By transforming infrastructure in a way that avoids disruption to the agency, IT can address government’s most pressing challenges while planning and preparing for future deployment of workloads to cloud. On their path to becoming cloud enabled, a foundation of digital transformation, agencies should strategically plan for the “best fit” mix of hybrid IT — that is, traditional IT, private cloud (in government facilities or hosted or managed by commercial service providers and systems integrators), and public cloud, all of which will be utilized by agencies in the near term. This approach allows agencies to integrate new technologies where needed and maintain legacy systems where appropriate.

And, while a hybrid approach allows agencies to match applications with appropriate IT environments, it is important that speed of delivery and uptime are not compromised. Therefore, Hybrid IT increases the need for a single view into infrastructure and applications, assurance across the entire environment (private, public, and on- premise environments), and the need for predictive analytics and dashboards to ensure rapid and proactive remediation. An additional challenge is the complexity of managing a hybrid system with ever increasing software applications, many not authorized by IT.

Optimizing IT using automation and analytics

Automation and analytics are key enablers of providing enhanced citizen service while optimizing IT environments. The value of automation in the deployment of software applications in physical, virtual, and cloud environments is reduced complexity, and increased agility in fault management, detection, reporting and notification. IT operations analytics is important to an organization’s cloud performance as it can monitor infrastructure capacity, security and compliance, and customer service. Analytics provides value to software performance by enhancing visibility and control via trending anomaly detection, KPI management, as well as recommending preemptive and predictive actions for better performance.

The ability to scale up cloud management environments, particularly in support of hybrid ecosystems, will require significant use of automation and analytics, and integrating automation and analytics enables automatically adjusting infrastructure supply to the fluctuation of application demands, and provides exponential value such as:

  • Provides visibility into and knowledge about the performance, relationship, and interdependency of agency software applications.
  • Indicates compliance with agency policies of the applications deployed throughout the system, and provides the ability to expose vulnerabilities inherent in software applications.
  • Recommends specific actions that can optimize performance such as removing poor performing apps, identifying and removing those with security risks, and moving a workload to enhance the performance of all workloads and safely drive up utilization and density.
  • Safely increases performance and workload densities for better efficiency through end-user monitoring, and resizing or scaling resources up or down according to the workload demand.

Taking it to the next level: Hyper-converged infrastructure

As government organizations continue to invest in strengthening and optimizing their hybrid ecosystem, they should consider taking convergence to the next level via hyper-converged infrastructure [link to first blog], and consider an integrated automation and analytics approach to maximize service performance across their hybrid ecosystem.

To learn more, read the IDC Analyst Connection paper, Maximizing the Value of Cloud in Government Transformation.