With the federal government’s Cloud First Policy nearly four years old, most agencies already have a clear understanding of the promised values of cloud computing.

 

That said, there is still plenty of uncertainty and concerns about moving to a cloud environment. How will you secure your data and monitor your applications? Will a cloud environment make your job obsolete? How will your agency manage the changes?

 

In reality, however, moving to the cloud can have less of an impact than one might imagine. Data will continue to be secure, applications will continue to perform and job security will not change.  You don’t have to lose control.

 

Today’s environment

 

Today, you’re encrypting your data, using performance monitoring tools, tracking resource usage and evolving requirements (memory, CPU, etc.), tracking service-level agreements (SLAs) and much more – all considered best practices.

 

The key is to understand the differences between application requirements and deployment practices.

 

Protecting data in the cloud simply entails knowing what requirements you must meet, and learning how to do that in the cloud. So the more clarity you have on how your applications work today, the easier your migration will be.

 

If you understand your application resource contentions, you will know how much memory and CPU your database has been using, but you also need a clear understanding of the source of bottlenecks. This knowledge will ensure you get the capacity you need while meeting your performance requirements.

 

Your cloud environment

 

Your cloud environment might actually look quite similar to your data center-hosted environment.

 

From a security perspective, there are many options available in the cloud. Remember, meeting strict federally mandated security requirements is a cloud provider's bread and butter. All cloud providers that are compliant with the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) meet FISMA-moderate requirements.

 

It is likely you will end up in a hybrid environment, so you should find a set of monitoring tools that allow you to monitor applications both in the cloud and in your own data center. The key metrics you already track – application performance, memory usage, CPU utilization – should continue to be tracked in the cloud.

 

Look for tools that allow you to see both sides through a single pane of glass, providing complete visibility across the entire environment. These types of tools provide stability throughout the transition and ease migration.

 

As for job security, remember that most of the work you do today will continue. You will still be responsible for application performance optimization, for example, but the applications will simply be in a different location. You’ll be tracking performance metrics relate directly to potential cost savings for your agency. Tuning, enhancing efficiency, optimizing resources (cost) and evaluating current practices may also become a larger part of many federal IT jobs.

 

Focus on data security and optimizing performance, and continue to track resource usage, evolving requirements and SLAs. And remember, the more rigorously you monitor and manage your applications today, the easier – and more cost effective – your migration will be.

 

Find the full article on Government Computer News.