Mar 26 2018

3 Tips for Feds Navigating the World of Hybrid IT

Agencies that use a mixture of public and private clouds should follow these tips to streamline their responsibilities.

For federal agencies, the hybrid cloud will be a fact of life for decades.

Not all workloads — think those containing classified or personally identifiable information — are suited for a public cloud, and some legacy applications may be difficult to move away from in-house servers. Technology leaders should commit laser focus to implementing tools and processes to simplify the management of this dynamic and distributed environment. Here are three tips on how to better navigate hybrid IT:

1. Implement Automation to Gain Efficiencies 

The word “automation” often implies the loss of jobs held by human IT workers. The reality is that it can help them; automation should be viewed as a key management tool in the hybrid cloud era.

With more data and workloads located in more places, it’s nearly impossible for any IT practitioner to be able to keep pace in a constantly changing environment. Start by automating highly repetitive tasks that weigh down IT staff, such as configuring virtual local area networks and access control lists or creating scripts, and then branch out to more advanced-use cases such as setting policies.

2. Extend Management Tools to the Cloud

Most organizations have management tools that provide an end-to-end view of a data center. In a hybrid environment, this view must extend into both private and public clouds, something that wasn’t realistic a few years ago. 

Today, nearly all vendors that work in the IT management space, including network, virtualization and container monitoring, have solutions that operate in public cloud services (among them, NetScout and Cisco Systems). You can’t manage what you can’t see, as the saying goes, so make sure you can see everywhere.

3. Centralize Operations for Far-Flung Data Centers 

Discussions of the cloud tend to revolve around an organization’s data center. Many federal agencies, however, operate remote branches with their own workloads containing a massive amount of data, but they may not have local IT staff.

One way to overcome this challenge is to implement remote management tools where a centralized team can make changes, such as upgrading bandwidth anytime from anywhere. Another solution is to leverage an orchestration platform where changes can be made in a central location and then pushed out to every location at once. Where it can help: Legacy hardware often has to be configured on a per location basis, one location at a time. In those cases, orchestration may take longer to implement, but speedier configuration with the risk of fewer mistakes is an upside.

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