Apply Light Technology and Shared Solutions
Apply “Light Technology”and Shared Solutions
The shift to “light technologies,” that is, cloud services, which can be deployed rapidly, and shared solutions will result in substantial cost savings, allowing agencies to optimize spending, and allowing agencies to reinvest in their most critical mission needs. For example, GSA recently entered into a contract to shift email services to the cloud, resulting in a 50% cost reduction over five years – a savings of about $15 million. Agencies must focus on consolidating existing data centers, reducing the need for infrastructure growth by implementing a “Cloud First” policy for services, and increasing their use of available cloud and shared services.
Complete detailed implementation plans to consolidate at least 800 data centers by 2015
In February 2010, the Administration launched the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative (FDCCI) and issued guidance for Federal CIO Council agencies. The guidance called for agencies to inventory their data center assets, develop consolidation plans throughout fiscal year 2010, and integrate those plans into agency fiscal year 2012 budget submissions.
The FDCCI is aimed at assisting agencies in identifying their existing data center assets and formulating detailed consolidation plans that include a technical roadmap and clear consolidation targets. The FDCCI will cut down the number of data centers across the government and assist agencies in applying best practices from the public and private sector, with goals to:
- Promote the use of Green IT by reducing the overall energy and real estate footprint of government data centers
- Reduce the cost of data center hardware, software, and operations
- Increase the overall IT security posture of the government, an
- Shift IT investments to more efficient computing platforms and technologies.
After an 8 month peer review process, we now know that the government is operating and maintaining almost 2,100 data centers. Through the FDCCI, a minimum of 800 data centers will be closed by 2015.
To meet this reduction target, OMB and Agency CIOs will take the following steps:
Identify agency data center program managers to lead consolidation efforts
Large IT projects often fail to meet goals because of distributed accountability for success. Large, complex, and critical infrastructure programs, such as data center consolidation, require a single person to lead the coordinated effort.
Within the next six months, each agency will designate a senior, dedicated data center consolidation program manager with project management experience and technical competence in IT infrastructure. Because data center consolidation requires interactions with many stakeholder groups, the data center program manager must also have strong communication skills. The data center program manager at each agency will be responsible for developing a plan with interim, verifiable milestones to reach the agency’s data center reduction target and monitor progress toward those goals.
Launch a Data Center Consolidation Task Force to ensure successful execution
Within the next three months, the Federal CIO Council will launch a government-wide Data Center Consolidation Task Force comprised of the data center program managers, facilities managers, and sustainability officers. The Data Center Consolidation Task Force will be responsible for working together to share progress toward individual agency goals and the overall Federal target of a minimum of 800 data center closures by 2015. The Data Center Consolidation Task Force will meet monthly to review progress of each consolidation project and ensure government-wide alignment between agency efforts where appropriate. The Task Force will serve as a “community of practice” for Agency CIOs and data center program managers to share best practices from this effort and enhance consolidation effectiveness.
Launch a publicly available dashboard to track data center consolidation progress
OMB will launch a publicly available dashboard to serve as a window into progress of the data center consolidation program. The dashboard will ensure transparency and accountability, and keep the overall program in plain view of the public.
Create a government-wide marketplace for data center availability
Within the next 18 months, OMB and GSA will create a government-wide marketplace that better utilizes spare capacity within operational data centers.
This online marketplace will match agencies with extra capacity to agencies with increasing demand, thereby improving the utilization of existing facilities. The marketplace will help agencies with available capacity promote their available data center space. Once agencies have a clear sense of the existing capacity landscape, they can make more informed consolidation decisions.
Shift to a “Cloud First” policy
In the private sector, a web-based multimedia production company used the cloud to allow anyone with access to an Internet connection the ability to create their own fully customized, professional-quality, TV-like videos. Consumers can then share the resulting videos with friends and family across the world. The cloud allowed for a rapid response when demand jumped from 25,000 users to more than 250,000 users in three days, eventually reaching a peak rate of 20,000 new customers every hour. Because of the cloud, the company was able to scale from 50 to 4,000 virtual machines in three days to support increased demand on a real-time basis.
In contrast, the Federal Government’s Car Allowance and Rebate System (CARS, more commonly known as “Cash-For-Clunkers”) failed when faced with peak loads. To process the anticipated 250,000 transactions, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) deployed a customized commercial application hosted in a traditional data center environment on June 19, 2009. When dealer registrations began on July 24, 2009, demand far exceeded initial projections, and within three days, the system was overwhelmed, leading to numerous unplanned outages and service disruptions. Ultimately, approximately 690,000 CARS transactions were processed. However, lacking the ability to scale rapidly, system stability was not achieved until August 28, 2009, over a month after registrations started coming in.
The Federal Government must be better prepared in the future. Beginning immediately, the Federal Government will shift to a “Cloud First” policy.
The three-part strategy on cloud technology will revolve around using commercial cloud technologies where feasible, launching private government clouds, and utilizing regional clouds with state and local governments where appropriate.
Cloud computing brings a wide range of benefits:
- Economical: Cloud computing is a pay-as-you-go approach to IT, in which a low initial investment is required to begin, and additional investment is needed only as system use increases.
- Flexible: IT departments that anticipate fluctuations in user demand no longer need to scramble for additional hardware and software. With cloud computing, they can add or subtract capacity quickly and easily.
- Fast: Cloud computing eliminates long procurement and certification processes, while providing a near-limitless selection of services.
When evaluating options for new IT deployments, OMB will require that agencies default to cloud-based solutions whenever a secure, reliable, cost-effective cloud option exists. To facilitate this shift, we will be standing up secure government-wide cloud computing platforms.
Publish cloud strategy
Within the next six months, the Federal CIO will publish a strategy to accelerate the safe and secure adoption of cloud computing across the government.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will facilitate and lead the development of standards for security, interoperability, and portability. NIST is working with other agencies, industry, academia, standards development organizations, and others to use existing standards as appropriate and develop cloud computing standards where gaps exist. While cloud computing services are currently being used, experts cite security, interoperability, and portability as major barriers to further adoption. The expectation is that standards will shorten the adoption cycle, enabling cost savings and an increased ability to quickly create and deploy enterprise applications.
Jump-start the migration to cloud technologies
Each Agency CIO will be required to identify three “must move” services and create a project plan for migrating each of them to cloud solutions and retiring the associated legacy systems. Of the three, at least one of the services must fully migrate to a cloud solution within 12 months and the remaining two within 18 months.
Each migration plan will include major milestones, execution risks, adoption targets, and required resources, as well as a retirement plan for legacy services once cloud services are online. These new cloud implementations should be compatible with the secure, certified platforms currently provided in the private sector. Migrating these services will build capabilities and momentum in the Federal Government, encourage industry to more rapidly develop appropriate cloud solutions for government, and reduce operating costs.
Stand-up contract vehicles for secure IaaS solutions
Federal, state, and local governments will soon have access to cloud-based Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) offerings. GSA’s IaaS contract award allows 12 vendors to provide government entities with cloud storage, virtual machines, and web hosting services to support a continued expansion of governments’ IT capabilities into cloud computing environments.
Within the next six months, after completing security certification, GSA will make a common set of contract vehicles for cloud-based Infrastructure-as-a-Service solutions available government-wide.
A government-wide risk and authorization program for cloud computing will allow agencies to rely on the authorization completed by another agency or to use an existing authorization, so that only additional, agency-specific requirements need to be separately certified. Our aim is to drive to a set of common services across the government supported by a community, rather than an agency-specific risk model. This will allow the Federal Government to “approve once and use often.”
Stand-up contract vehicles for commodity services
The Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) E-mail Working Group, formed in June 2010, has begun to identify and develop the set of baseline functional and technical requirements for government-wide cloud email solutions and is working towards developing business case templates for agencies who are considering transitioning to SaaS e-mail.
Within 12 months, GSA will utilize these requirements to stand up government-wide contract vehicles for cloud-based email solutions. GSA will also begin a similar process specifically designed for other back-end, cloud-based solutions.
Develop a strategy for shared services
Within the next 12 months, the Federal CIO will develop a strategy for shared services. That strategy will build on earlier Federal Government successes in shared services and include benchmarks on current usage and uptake rates, as well as service level agreements (SLAs), customer satisfaction levels, costs, and overall economic effectiveness.
Managing partners of shared services will assess the current state of shared services and each release a roadmap to improve quality and uptake. Ultimately, the managing partners will be responsible for executing these roadmaps and will be held accountable for improvements on SLAs and reductions in cost. These efforts will enable the current shared services to be accessible government-wide at higher quality levels.