New White Paper Alert: The Benefits of FedRAMP

Do you have questions about FedRAMP? What is FedRAMP? How will FedRAMP impact my agency? What do I need to know about FedRAMP to procure cloud computing services? These are only a few of the many questions we are hearing from customers. To address these questions and others, Shamun Mahmud, the security architect of the DLT Cloud Advisory Group, recently published a white paper entitled The Benefits of FedRAMP. The white paper details how federal IT agencies are being impacted by the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP).

DLT Cloud Advisory Group a Finalist for 2012 IES&BD Award

DLT Solutions and its Cloud Advisory Group have been named one of four finalists in the Excellence in Team Building, Management and Development category of the 2012 Institute for Excellence in Sales & Business Development (IES&BD) annual awards. The IES&BD Awards are the only independent awards that promote and advance excellence in Sales & Business Development by recognizing companies and organizations who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and strategic vision in Sales & Business Development.

As in Nature, Clouds Come in Many Shapes

Cloud computing expands on the many existing choices that are already available to IT for the delivery of IT services. Currently, we have RISC, x86, ATOM and ARM processors. We have Windows, Linux, UNIX, and mainframe operating systems. We also have a number of choices for application servers, databases, and development languages. The good thing about having these choices is that it allows architects to pick the best fit (either client-server or mainframe platforms) for the delivery of IT services (applications). Cloud computing is really no different. There are a number of different cloud services and delivery models, and each should be evaluated for a best fit for the targeted application. Different cloud services will cater to different security profiles, different developer environments, different levels of control, and different kinds of applications. Each cloud service model has different business and IT benefits and challenges.

Private Cloud Technologies: Moving Away from a Traditional IT Model

In a traditional Information Technology (IT) model, new IT assets are acquired in support of specific applications. This model has had the unfortunate side effect of casting IT into the role of a cost center. As such, there has been little flexibility within IT to make broad platform changes such as the adoption and deployment of private cloud technologies.

Government Cloud Pushback

A recent New York Times article spells out the issues around federal cloud computing adoption explaining “such high praise for new Internet technologies may be common in Silicon Valley, but it is rare in the federal government, where concerns about security are paramount”. Agencies are notably concerned about losing responsibility for managing and securing data as well as the possibility of cloud outages. However, there are agencies with fewer concerns about security breaches and they have been busy moving user accounts and email services to the cloud environment. For example, the Agriculture Department has already moved about 46,000 employee accounts and is in the process of adding another 120,000. NASA has also made the migration by launching their own internal Nebula cloud computing platform. This platform provides a range of services powerful enough to manage all of NASA’s large-scale scientific data sets.

Fundamentals of Cloud Computing: Platform-as-a-Service

“If you are waiting until the market settles before making decisions, you are going to be waiting a long, long time.” (According to DLT’s CTO Van Ristau, in a recent Platform-as-a-Service webcast) Gartner, a third party analyst of the IT market, published a statement that by the end of 2011, the battle for leadership in Platform-as-a-Service and key PaaS segments will engulf the software industry. This particular segment of the cloud computing is moving very fast and there is a lot of competition- always a healthy thing for end users. Cloud providers are constantly delivering new or expanded PaaS offerings, and the market doesn’t seem to be settling anytime soon. If you are considering adopting a PaaS strategy, it is time to investigate the different offerings available, get your development teams involved, and begin using these services. Of course, by the time all of that happens in your agency, solutions offerings may have changed again! But, it’s better to figure out what you want, what you need and what’s out there in the market.

The Private Cloud Journey

“Private cloud adoption is a journey both from a technical and business perspective.” At the recent AFCEA Cloud Lifecycle Management Symposium in DC, the discussion on government cloud computing ranged from acquisition policies to building the roadmaps in which NIST and government guidelines are being centered around. The vision of these roadmaps is to “easily locate desired IT services, rapidly procure access to the services, and use the services to deliver innovative mission solutions.” But with all of the service providers and offerings available, how can government standardize and corral all of these into one simple menu of options that meets individual agency requirements? How will agencies define a successful cloud program? What are the strategies to assure success?

Fundamentals of Cloud Computing: Infrastructure-as-a-Service

To have a public cloud or not to have a public cloud- that is the question. Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) comes with many choices for the customer, and deciding whether or not to make virtualized data centers public or private, is one of the largest ones faced by government agencies. In this clip from the Cloud Advisory Group’s webcast on IaaS, CTO Van Ristau provides some insight into determining your IaaS needs.