Tips for Moving to the Cloud

Blog originally posted on IronBow's TechSource

Federal agencies have been under a “cloud-first” mandate from the White House since the fall of 2009. But putting information outside of an agency’s four walls can cause pause. Federal agencies require certain precautionary considerations— control, availability, compliance, and performance—before they make the leap and adopt a full cloud approach for their organizations.

There are multiple paths to the cloud, all with the goal of maximizing capacity utilization, improving IT flexibility and responsiveness, and minimizing cost.

If you are about to leap into the cloud, first pause—and follow these practical tips to find yourself on your way to IT success:

1. Find the Nearest Exit: Although this instruction may first add to the nerves, developing an exit strategy will relieve the pressures of being locked into an environment, especially if you find that it does not fully work for your agency. If there is a way in, then there has to be a way out. But don’t just have your eyes locked on the door, fully commit to this new step.

2. Check the Bill: How much will it cost you to provide the services in the cloud? In this economy, agencies cannot afford to spend money without fully understanding the total investment to completely achieve the mission. Luckily, moving to the cloud will usually minimize costs in the long term. But it is still important to track your spending along the way.

3. Weigh the Pros and Cons: If you better understand the costs, then you will better understand the benefits. Look at both short-term and long-term benefits to determine if the cloud is right for you. Do these benefits directly align with your organization’s bottom line? If so, then it will be worth the initial costs to reach the long-term benefits.

4. Who’s the Boss?: It is a scary idea to take the data out from under the desks of employees, out from the laptops, and put it into the cloud. It is even scarier if the data is no longer under the direct control of the agency. It is important to recognize governance challenges and work through those issues and find options that avoid this roadblock on the way to the cloud. For example, in a hybrid cloud approach, the data may still reside within the organization’s data centers under the organization’s control.

Once you go through the checklist and preventive measures have been taken, it is easier for your agency to adopt a full cloud strategy.

NetApp has the products, partners, best practices, and experience to help government agencies successfully design and deploy the correct cloud computing model to support business objectives and long-term success. By building a cloud solution on a NetApp foundation, agencies can deploy a cloud infrastructure that makes it possible to accelerate time to market with new services, leveraging a shared infrastructure that increases operational efficiency and flexibility, enhance SLAs, and cut costs.

Now it’s time to take the leap!

Davis Johnson, District Sales Manager, NetApp U.S. Public Sector