Managing the Federal Government’s Multi-Cloud Future

By Cameron Chehreh, Chief Technology Officer, Dell Technologies Federal

Driven by the recent Cloud Smart initiative, federal agencies are prioritizing cloud and on track to spend $7.1 billion on the cloud in fiscal 2020.  To better meet varying mission needs, agencies are adopting multi-cloud approaches that include a combination of clouds hosted on-premises, in public clouds and at the edge.

However, integrating public, private and edge solutions can seem like an impossible task—it’s one of the greatest IT challenges facing federal agencies. A recent study, “Juggling the Clouds: What Are Agencies Learning?” found three out of four federal IT decision-makers say managing a multi-cloud environment will be one of their agency’s top challenges over the next five years. So how do we succeed?

Multi-Cloud is Here                                         

The first step to successful multi-cloud adoption is for federal agencies to accept the model as the new normal.

According to the report, the vast majority of federal IT decision-makers (81%) say their agency already uses multiple cloud platforms. Still, agencies do not feel prepared to manage their current environments, largely because of added organizational complexity and silos, disparate M&O tools and inconsistent SLAs.

Nearly half of the respondents agree their agency is not adequately preparing for their multi-cloud future. While some federal agencies are taking steps to prepare as they train their IT workforce for multi-cloud, implement access controls and establish a multi-cloud leadership team, there’s more work to be done.

Hitting Roadblocks

What is causing federal IT managers multi-cloud anxieties? Security concerns top the list at 41%, followed by data governance (38%) and interoperability issues (35%). As agencies begin their multi-cloud journeys, there is often a lack of in-house expertise that can add risk of misconfigurations or other critical errors. Further, as the cloud environment becomes larger, the attack surface can become even more complex.

One way to address these concerns is to focus on consistency. Nearly all (89%) IT leaders say consistency is critical to connecting teams and processes across cloud platforms, but today just one in five rate the consistency of their multi-cloud environment’s operations and infrastructure as “very good.”

HCI Helps Bridge the Gap

As federal IT leaders consider the reality of their multi-cloud futures, many are looking for tools to help simplify and secure modern environments. Specifically, federal agencies want better integration with legacy infrastructures and advanced encryption/security features to further multi-cloud adoption. They need consistent infrastructure and operations to ensure a seamless experience across all platforms. Better integration is where hyper converged infrastructure (HCI) – consolidated compute, network, and storage in a software-defined solution – can help bridge the gap.

While few have invested in HCI today (just 28%), those who have are reaping the benefits.  Specifically, federal agencies mention improved backup and recovery capabilities (48%) and data sharing (45%).  Most importantly, agencies using HCI feel significantly better prepared for multi-cloud.

Team Mentality

The study suggests that federal agencies focus on training, proof of concept systems and stakeholder communication for successful multi-cloud management. Federal IT leaders can mitigate risk and improve interoperability through connective, adaptive technologies designed to create a consistent experience across all cloud environments. With the help of HCI, agencies can create a modern, compound infrastructure that’s both secure and easy to manage.

To learn more from other federal leaders managing multi-cloud, read the full report: Juggling the Clouds:  What Are Agencies Learning? It provides additional insight and recommendations on how to balance multiple cloud solutions, putting your agency on the path to successful multi-cloud management.

About the Author

Cameron Chehreh, Chief Technology Officer, Dell Technologies Federal . Cameron Chehreh is the Chief Technology Officer, Dell Technologies Federal Cameron can be reached online at Cameron.Chehreh@dell.com and at our company website https://www.dellemc.com/en-us/industry/federal/federal-government-it.htm