The Small Business Administration is embracing hybrid IT as it plans to transition fully into the cloud by utilizing infrastructure-as-a-service.
SBA Deputy CIO Guy Cavallo told FedScoop his agency will not buy another server or storage array.
“[CIO] Maria Roat and I have drawn the line in the sand that everything new is now going to the cloud,” Cavallo said. “There will be nothing new on-premise; everything that’s on-premise now is only being maintained and updated for security patches or federal mandates or requirements.”
Cavallo said the overall goal is to offer reliable, redundant, 24/7 IT to the small businesses they serve, which traditional on-premise storage cannot offer.
“There’s no way that I’ve seen any government agency that can deliver the uptime of the major cloud vendors,” Cavallo explained, citing issues with unavailable or blank webpages following power outages and network breaks. “Those are the things that immediately start going away with the cloud vendors having so many redundant circuits that we can’t afford in government.”
He also noted the budgeting benefits of moving out of the physical hardware environment, eliminating the need for pricey hardware-buying cycles as existing machines reach end-of-life.
“If I need an extra $10 million to re-buy a data center, that’s $10 million less that the SBA can spend on small businesses,” he said.
With infrastructure-as-a-service, Cavallo said, costs will be predictable and stable each year, replacing this “boom-bust cycle.”
Infrastructure-as-a-service will be a first step in a plan to move later to platform-as-a-service and software-as-a-service, but this process could take several years.
Meanwhile, SBA is focusing on integrating legacy IT teams with cloud experts through weekly joint training sessions. Cavallo said this approach addresses the cultural considerations of the project.
“If you segregate it, you’re going to have one team working on all the new cool stuff, and then you’ll have team that’s going to be left behind having to keep the lights on and support it,” he said. “But they also have all the knowledge of the information systems, so what we’ve done is we’ve combined them, and we’ve also brought in cloud experts to work side by side with them, so we can get the legacy knowledge and start planning how to migrate those things to the cloud.”
This video was brought to you by Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Learn about HPE’s hybrid IT solutions here.