The Keys to Successful Cloud Migrations

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1 Moving Federal Agencies to the Cloud The Keys to Successful Cloud Migrations A WHITE PAPER PRESENTED BY: September 2014 PREPARED BY MARKET CONNECTIONS INC AVION PARKWAY, SUITE 125 CHANTILLY, VA T F ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

2 MOVING FEDERAL AGENCIES TO THE CLOUD: KEYS TO SUCCESSFUL MIGRATIONS 2 MOVING FEDERAL AGENCIES TO THE CLOUD The Keys to Successful Cloud Migrations It is not a matter of whether federal civilian agencies will move to the cloud. It s a matter of when and how. Choosing flexible solutions that address current as well as future needs are the keys to making the move cost-effective, secure, and seamless. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The first priority of any cloud strategy must be the impact on the end user every choice an agency makes has a direct impact on performance, and the end user s experience. GREG SANCHEZ CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER HEALTH & CIVILIAN SOLUTIONS GENERAL DYNAMICS INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY Today, an effort to move federal IT to a utility-based model the cloud-first policy is requiring federal agencies to consider a cloud option first with every technology project. This is good for agencies the cloud model offers a score of benefits, such as higher asset utilization, system consolidation, easy-to-manage environments, and shorter procurement lead times. And when agencies pay only for the resources and services they consume, they stand to see tremendous cost savings over time. But if agencies don t move to the cloud in a thoughtful manner, they could run into a range of issues that disrupt performance and impact the end user s experience. So as agencies move more applications and services to the cloud, the question becomes, what are the keys to successful cloud migrations? General Dynamics Information Technology commissioned Market Connections to learn what stage of cloud implementation plans agencies are in, their key challenges and concerns moving forward, and who is driving decisions about which cloud environments to use. THE STATUS OF AGENCY CLOUD MIGRATIONS One of the most interesting changes in the status of agency cloud migrations is who is making the decisions. It seems logical that the CIO or CTO would make the decisions about when and how to migrate to the cloud, and in more than half of the agencies (53%) this is the case. However, missionoriented department heads (37%) and the CFO, COO, or other managers (31%) are also calling the shots. As agencies measure the pros and cons of different cloud options, who is making the decision can influence the choice. For example, CIOs want assurances that the migration will be seamless and the tools will work as promised. However, CFOs tend to want better, cheaper, faster technologies while the mission-oriented department heads want to know whether the technology will put the mission at risk steering them toward choices that make sense for these specific needs, but will cause problems down the road.

3 MOVING FEDERAL AGENCIES TO THE CLOUD: KEYS TO SUCCESSFUL MIGRATIONS 3 While software as a service (SaaS) is the most popular form of cloud computing in the federal government, agencies also are using infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS) as cloud delivery mechanisms. Almost three-quarters of respondents (73%) are currently using, have plans to use, or are considering SaaS solutions in the next year, and 66% are currently using or considering PaaS, IaaS, and managed hosting. Agenices are now looking at cloud services from a macro level to migrate and manage the entire portfolio. This shift from program management represents a new way to manage IT. DAMIAN WHITHAM SENIOR DIRECTOR, CLOUD COMPUTING SOLUTIONS GENERAL DYNAMICS INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

4 MOVING FEDERAL AGENCIES TO THE CLOUD: KEYS TO SUCCESSFUL MIGRATIONS 4 What Agencies are Migrating to the Cloud Agencies have been slowly migrating those functions not perceived as mission-critical or where security risks seem lower primarily collaboration tools (79%), file management (76%), and (75%). This test and see strategy allows agencies to get a feel for how the cloud environment works before fully committing. CONCERNS AND CHALLENGES As agencies migrate to the cloud, security risks continue to top the list of concerns. Primarily, agencies are concerned with unauthorized access to, or leaks of, proprietary data (69%) and security defects in the technology itself (65%). Just over one-quarter of respondents (27%) cite lack of data segregation among the cloud-hosting vendor s clients as a concern a potential issue for those using public cloud or hybrid environments. However, the concerns regarding security and data loss are masking the bigger potential issue of performance in the cloud. Of the five performancebased issues to choose from application migration, lack of data segregation among the provider's customers, difficulty with or inability for data recovery when the service is cancelled, vendor lock-in, and lack of technology maturity less than one third of respondents listed any of them among their primary concerns. This may be the result of a lack of understanding of how cloud-based solutions work and what agencies should be examining when choosing a vendor or solution. Vendor Lock-In Vendor lock-in can make cloud migrations time-consuming and costly. Knowing how a vendor versus a cloud services provider works will help minimize those issues. DAVE PIZZANO VICE PRESIDENT HEALTH & CIVILIAN SOLUTIONS GENERAL DYNAMICS INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY For example, vendor lock-in is one of the biggest potential problems for agencies, yet only 23% of respondents cited it as a critical issue. The relative lack of concern over this issue is surprising given the long-term impact being locked into one vendor s products and services can have on migrations, performance, and the overall IT budget. Vendor lock-in primarily comes into play if there is ever a need to walk away from the current cloud-hosting vendor, something that may become necessary for a variety of reasons. There are three main concerns when transitioning away from a cloudhosting vendor: Migration of storage associated with the virtual machines (VMs), transitioning licensed and unlicensed open virtual archives (OVAs) from one hypervisor to another, and the potential to corrupt OVAs during the migration process. For example, to move storage out of the vendor s environment, the cloud solutions provider must ensure there is adequate bandwidth and time to make sure the stored data comes over to the new environment, arrange a secure staging environment is in place to move the OVAs between providers, and maintain the integrity of the OVAs while in transit.

5 MOVING FEDERAL AGENCIES TO THE CLOUD: KEYS TO SUCCESSFUL MIGRATIONS 5 A cloud solutions provider with this knowledge base and skill set can be invaluable to an agency. A successful deployment is dependent on having a strong cloud strategy in place, one that not only addresses immediate challenges, but that prepares the agency for future changes. DAMIAN WHITHAM SENIOR DIRECTOR CLOUD COMPUTING SOLUTIONS GENERAL DYNAMICS INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY Another common example of vendor lock-in is when vendors create custom application programming interfaces (APIs) that work only in their environment. When the agency realizes it needs more flexibility and decides to move, the costs can start to rise. To avoid vendor lock-in, agencies should look for a cloud solutions provider with experience supporting the different cloud vendors with its API, and who have experience providing other safeguards. The bottom line: agencies need flexibility. Working with cloud solutions providers that offer that flexibility is crucial, even if the initial cost is higher. As federal agencies transition away from legacy systems, they face an overhaul of servers, storage, network, and other types of technology to provide the right foundation for the cloud all of which have the potential to impact performance. As with vendor lock-in, however, agencies do not appear as concerned as they should be given how important performance is to the overall mission. Performance Almost three-quarters (71%) do not consider migrating applications to a cloud environment (application readiness) a top-of-mind concern. Yet migrations directly impact performance and the agency s ability to deliver on their mission. Only a little more than one-third (37%) are concerned with application performance in general and not quite half (45%) are concerned about data recovery if the cloud-hosting vendor fails. This response indicates that agencies may not be thinking of outcomes well in advance of a migration outcomes such as the desired end results and the expectations around performance. For example, if an agency has to enter data, it does not matter if they are doing it in a legacy or cloud environment. The impact on the end user must always be the first priority. The type of cloud solution selected has a direct impact on both performance and data recovery. WHO TO CHOOSE FOR CLOUD SERVICES? One of the most important decisions federal agencies must make when moving to the cloud is where to turn for cloud services. A cloud-hosting vendor or cloud solutions provider what is the difference? CLOUD-HOSTING VENDORS: Public cloud storage vendors host your data, but do not integrate services and solutions or develop cloud strategies. CLOUD SOLUTIONS PROVIDERS: Cloud experts and systems integrators that can help develop an agency-wide cloud strategy and determine the right options for today and tomorrow. They may offer a private cloud option or a hybrid option of public and private cloud storage.

6 MOVING FEDERAL AGENCIES TO THE CLOUD: KEYS TO SUCCESSFUL MIGRATIONS 6

7 MOVING FEDERAL AGENCIES TO THE CLOUD: KEYS TO SUCCESSFUL MIGRATIONS 7 Cost One-third of respondents believe that when an organization migrates to the cloud, the up-front cost is minimal because it's a pay-as-you-go service. That is true, but there are other factors to consider that may increase that cost. Cost overruns are common when moving to the cloud (such as those that happen during migrations), an issue exacerbated by a lack of familiarity with purchasing this new kind of service. Overall, only 30% of respondents are concerned with the unpredictable costs and only 23% are concerned with the lack of maturity of the technology. Every agency should be concerned about the unpredictable costs and the maturity of the technology. Cloud services are still a relatively new technology and few vendors have the in-depth experience to predict potential issues. This can lead to network charges that end up being costprohibitive and little recourse for the agency that is already committed to that path. Working with an experienced cloud solutions provider can mitigate some of these issues and guide agencies through the procurement process, identifying a solution that meets the agency s current and future needs. Almost two thirds (59%) of respondents agree that migration to cloud-based services results in lower capital expenses in comparison to in-house deployment of infrastructure, and that is true in the long run. However, to realize the cost savings potential of the cloud, agencies need to go the cloud in the right way and that starts with a welldeveloped, agency-wide cloud strategy that provides a structured way of ensuring mission success. Selecting a Cloud Service Migrating to the cloud requires myriad decisions and a host of potential issues an agency must consider. This puts increasing importance on choosing the right cloud services. With all of the choices and permeations of a cloud environment, it is no surprise that the majority of respondents want to work with one provider (63%), preferably one with federal experience (80%). While working with a single provider does streamline the process, it only does so if that provider can offer everything the agency needs. Cloud solutions providers may work with a variety of cloud-hosting vendors, but they typically have the expertise and experience to unify the products and services. When deciding whether to work with a cloud solutions provider or cloudhosting vendor, it is critical to think of the overall agency cloud strategy, what the impacts on performance may be, and whether vendor lock-in is a probability.

8 MOVING FEDERAL AGENCIES TO THE CLOUD: KEYS TO SUCCESSFUL MIGRATIONS 8 Vendor selection is important, but equally important is developing an agency-wide cloud strategy that addresses the entire portfolio. Nearly three-quarters (71%) of respondents see this necessity and want to work with a vendor who can provide a forward-thinking cloud strategy. CONCLUSIONS Cloud computing offers agencies many advantages, including cost savings and agility, as well as compliance with federal mandates. The four primary keys to a successful cloud migration are: 1. Addressing performance issues. The importance of performance and an agency s ability to execute on the mission cannot be overstated. Bringing in a partner that understands the issues and can help manage migrations will keep performance stable and save the agency money in the long run. 2. Adopting a cloud strategy that provides the flexibility to respond to current and future requirements. 3. Working with a cloud services provider that has depth of experience in providing cloud services one who has worked with multiple environments and can identify issues and pitfalls. Finding a partner with federal experience will help mitigate these unknown risks. 4. Avoiding vendor lock-in and the issues it can cause for any future migrations. Many of the unanticipated issues of cloud services revolve around performance and vendor lock-in. Part of attaining stable performance and avoiding costly vendor lock-in is to ensure that the agency s policies drive the use of shared services within the cloud-computing environment, and that nothing is done in a vacuum. What may make sense for one department may not make sense in the overall agency cloud strategy. This is especially important to remember if someone other than the CIO/CTO is making the buying decision. The cloud is a rapidly changing environment, but one where eventually every federal agency will reside. With thoughtful preparation, agencies can migrate to the cloud in a way that sets them up for success and allows them to continue meeting their mission without interruption.

9 MOVING FEDERAL AGENCIES TO THE CLOUD: KEYS TO SUCCESSFUL MIGRATIONS 9 ABOUT THE STUDY Agencies need flexibility. Working with cloud solutions providers that offer that flexibility is crucial, even if the initial cost is higher. When deciding whether to work with a cloud solutions provider or cloudhosting vendor, it is critical to think of the overall agency cloud strategy, what the impacts on performance may be, and whether vendor lock-in is a probability. General Dynamics Information Technology commissioned Market Connections, Inc. to learn what stage of their cloud implementation plans federal agencies are in, what their key challenges and concerns are moving forward, and who is driving decisions about what cloud environments to use. Of the 150 respondents, more than half are on a team that makes decisions regarding technology solutions, nearly all have developed requirements for technology solutions or services, and 21% make the final decisions. Respondents represented civilian (54%), defense (32%), and legislative (11%) agencies. Half develop technology requirements (47%), evaluate or recommend solutions (49%), or are on a team that makes decisions about technology (56%). Nearly one-quarter (21%) make the final decision regarding technology solutions, services or contractors. ABOUT GENERAL DYNAMICS INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY As a trusted systems integrator for more than 50 years, General Dynamics Information Technology is a leader in cloud computing and virtualization migration and support, assisting federal customers with developing cloud strategies, building virtualization and automation solutions, choosing appropriate cloud services, implementing the solution and managing the current cloud computing environment. Cloud services capabilities and experience range from discovery, analysis, migration planning, and architecture design, through deployment, transition and full lifecycle management. Their FISMA-compliant cloud facilities host a number of mission-critical systems for a variety of customers. For more information, visit: ABOUT MARKET CONNECTIONS, INC. Market Connections delivers actionable intelligence and insights that enable improved business performance and positioning for leading businesses, trade associations, and the public sector. The custom market research firm is a sought-after authority on preferences, perceptions, and trends among the public sector and the contractors who serve them, offering deep domain expertise in information technology and telecommunications; healthcare; and education. For more information visit:

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