Virtualization

The road to a private cloud

Nathan Coutinho

Nathan Coutinho is an enterprise solutions manager at CDW-G.

Agencies recognize that server virtualization is an important step toward an increasingly mobile and efficient government. But what is the main objective, and how do agencies get there?

The ultimate goal for agencies is not server virtualization itself but rather a private cloud environment from which employees can access applications efficiently and securely.

The private cloud model gives an agency the autonomy it needs to control its IT infrastructure --to oversee shared information, protect sensitive data, and manage virtualization, storage and data centers according to its specific needs. Although the quest for a private cloud does not always follow a clear path, it always includes a solid foundation.

The following elements can help create the foundation for agencies to build a private cloud.

  • IT governance. As the backbone of an agency's IT strategy, IT governance is a core component of a private cloud. It is the process by which federal managers identify their IT goals, create strategies for achieving them, develop systems for tracking their progress and report key performance metrics.
  • Server virtualization. Server virtualization is essential for any successful private cloud program because it allows users to maximize physical resources in the most efficient way possible. Through virtualization, agencies can increase server use, centralize control of all desktop operating systems and applications, reduce power and cooling requirements, better control virus and malware outbreaks, simplify management of updates for operating systems and applications, reduce device theft, and increase data security and remote access.
  • Consolidated storage. Once an agency adopts server virtualization, it can consolidate the information it shares across servers and applications. Successful storage consolidation simplifies infrastructure management by creating a single point of control. Accordingly, consolidated storage improves efficiencies, application service levels and the ease of providing security -- all while speeding up provisioning and change management, streamlining job descriptions, and minimizing duplication. Although consolidated storage is just one key to a private cloud, it can significantly improve the overall quality of an agency's infrastructure.
  • Data center optimization. As it relates to private clouds, data center optimization includes tools for managing virtual machines and networks. Effective data center optimization can completely transform an IT environment by providing flexibility and systematic standardization of data storage systems. Integrating archiving into a data storage solution lets agencies define data retention policies for various types of information and users.
  • Converged infrastructure. Such solutions offer agencies an integrated IT infrastructure option. Converged infrastructure combines several traditionally stand-alone IT components into a single optimized solution. By converging servers, storage, networking equipment and software, these solutions provide a scalable and cost-effective way to quickly deploy a more simplified IT infrastructure.
  • Automation. This is the final step to a private cloud. With automation, an agency can trust that the entire virtualization process will run smoothly and securely, which removes a significant burden from IT departments.

Because most agencies already have a plan for implementing server virtualization, the goal of a private cloud does not have to be as challenging as it might seem. Agencies that implement a solid IT infrastructure comprising these key elements are well on their way to turning a quest into a completed IT mission.

About the Author

Nathan Coutinho is an enterprise solutions manager at CDW-G.

The Fed 100

Save the date for 28th annual Federal 100 Awards Gala.

Featured

  • computer network

    How Einstein changes the way government does business

    The Department of Commerce is revising its confidentiality agreement for statistical data survey respondents to reflect the fact that the Department of Homeland Security could see some of that data if it is captured by the Einstein system.

  • Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Army photo by Monica King. Jan. 26, 2017.

    Mattis mulls consolidation in IT, cyber

    In a Feb. 17 memo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told senior leadership to establish teams to look for duplication across the armed services in business operations, including in IT and cybersecurity.

  • Image from Shutterstock.com

    DHS vague on rules for election aid, say states

    State election officials had more questions than answers after a Department of Homeland Security presentation on the designation of election systems as critical U.S. infrastructure.

  • Org Chart Stock Art - Shutterstock

    How the hiring freeze targets millennials

    The government desperately needs younger talent to replace an aging workforce, and experts say that a freeze on hiring doesn't help.

  • Shutterstock image: healthcare digital interface.

    VA moves ahead with homegrown scheduling IT

    The Department of Veterans Affairs will test an internally developed scheduling module at primary care sites nationwide to see if it's ready to service the entire agency.

  • Shutterstock images (honglouwawa & 0beron): Bitcoin image overlay replaced with a dollar sign on a hardware circuit.

    MGT Act poised for a comeback

    After missing in the last Congress, drafters of a bill to encourage cloud adoption are looking for a new plan.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group