Cloud conversations: AWS Government Cloud (GovCloud)

August 27, 2012 Comments Off

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Following earlier cloud conversations posts, cloud computing means many things from products to services, functionality and positioned for different layers of service delivery or capabilities (e.g. SaaS, AaaS, PaaS, IaaS and XaaS).

Consequently it is no surprise when I hear from different people their opinion, belief or perception of what is or is not a cloud, confidence or concerns, or how to use and abuse clouds among other related themes.

A common theme I hear talking with IT professionals on a global basis centers around conversations about confidence in clouds including reliability, security, privacy, compliance and confidentiality for where data is protected and preserved. This includes data being stored in different geography locations ranging from states or regions to countries and continents. What I also often hear are discussion around concerns over data from counties outside of the US being stored in the US or vice versa of information privacy laws.

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Cost is also coming up in many conversations, which is interesting in that many first value propositions have been presented around cloud being cheaper. As with many things it depends, some services and usage models can be cheaper on a relative basis, just like some can be more expensive. Think of it this way, for some people a lease of an automobile can cheaper on monthly cash flow vs. buying or making loan payments. On the other hand, a buy or loan payment can have a lower overall cost depending on different factors then a lease.

As with many cloud conversations, cost and return on investment (ROI) will vary, just as how the cloud is used to impact your return on innovation (the new ROI) will also vary.

This brings me to something else I hear during my travels and in other conversations with IT; practitioners (e.g. customers and users as well as industry pundits) is a belief that governments cannot use clouds. Again, it depends on what type of government, the applications, sensitivity of data among others factors.

Some FUD (Fear uncertainty doubt) I hear includes blanket statements such as governments cannot use cloud services or cloud services do not exist for governments. Again it comes down to digging deeper into the conversation such as what type of cloud, applications, government function, security and sensitivity among other factors.

Keep in mind that there are services including those from Amazon Web Services (AWS) such as their Government Cloud (GovCloud) region. Granted, GovCloud is not applicable to all government cloud needs or types of applications or data or security clearances among other concerns.

Needless to say AWS GovCloud is not the only solution out there on a public (government focused), private or hybrid basis, there are probably even some super double secret ultra-private or hybrid fortified government clouds that most in the government including experts are not aware of. However if those do exist, certainly talking about them is also probably off-limits for discussions even by the experts.

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Speaking of AWS, here is a link to an analysis of their cloud storage for archiving and inactive big data called Glacier, along with analysis of AWS Cloud Storage Gateway. Also, keep in mind that protecting data in the cloud is a shared responsibility meaning there are things both you as the user or consumer as well as the provider need to do.

Btw, what is your take on clouds? Click here to cast your vote and see what others are thinking about clouds.

Ok, nuff said for now.

Cheers Gs

About Greg Schulz

IT Advisory Analyst and Consultant covering data infrastructure topics. Author of the books “Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking” (CRC Press), “The Green and Virtual Data Center” (CRC Press) and “Resilient Storage Networks: Designing Flexible Scalable Data Infrastructures” (Elsevier). Have worked in IT for various organizations, have been a vendor/var, in addition to having been an analyst. As comfortable looking around under data center floor tiles as discussing software, hardware, services and best practices. Learn more at http://storageio.com

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