Migrating to hybrid cloud solutions can help state and local governments achieve their digital transformation goals, according to Ricky Nelson, senior solution architect, North America Public Sector, at Red Hat.

Nelson, who spoke at GovLoop’s State & Local Virtual Summit today, explained that moving to hybrid cloud infrastructure can help state and local governments realize a six-fold return on investment (ROI) over five years. On top of ROI, the benefits of hybrid cloud include: 54 percent lower cost of operations over the same five-year period; doubling deployments of new applications every year; 80 percent less unplanned downtime; and 49 percent more efficient IT infrastructure teams.

After describing the benefits of hybrid cloud, Nelson turned to how exactly governments can deploy the new infrastructure. He said that IT leaders need to “focus on outcomes that impact the business,” and stressed addressing platform, process, and people.

Specifically, he emphasized eight priorities that governments should focus on:

  • Pool physical resources;
  • Delivering virtual compute, storage, and networking on demand;
  • Automating processes;
  • Integrating management and automation;
  • Automating deployments;
  • Collaborating across departments;
  • Better aligning business goals; and
  • Attracting and acquiring high-quality talent.

In terms of initial steps, he said governments should develop a workload-driven cloud strategy, build a private cloud, implement a foundation for hybrid cloud, and deploy a multi-cloud container platform.

Workload Driven Cloud Strategy

Nelson said that developing a workload-driven cloud strategy must start with determining “the right environment for the right workloads.” To do so, he said governments need to “identify where [their] IT environment starts and stops, what it includes, and what workloads can – or can’t – be ported over across clouds.” Once governments do that, then IT leaders need to “determine if migrating workloads under a single cloud infrastructure is preferred to identifying, aggregating, and connecting clouds under a single management solution.” Nelson then urged governments to take a phased implementation approach to ease the move to hybrid cloud.

Foundation for Hybrid Cloud

State and local governments need to implement a foundation for hybrid cloud, according to Nelson, because it allows them to “standardize on a foundation for innovation.” Nelson then talked about developing hybrid cloud in a private cloud environment, saying that private cloud enables governments to “scale resources while maintaining total control of infrastructural security.” In order to deploy hybrid cloud, he said governments need to “review opportunities and capture business and technical requirements to define a private cloud strategy and initial frameworks”; “define key IT services, build programmable infrastructure and automation to deliver them, and onboard initial workloads”; and “broaden services catalog and evolve operational efficiency to design, deliver, and maintain agile infrastructure at scale.”

Multi-Cloud Container Platform

Finally, governments should look toward a multi-cloud container platform because it allows them to use any app in any environment, he said. Specifically, it allows for deploying apps “faster, more securely, and more consistently” and lets governments “expand or contract [their] private cloud and move workloads to the public cloud with ease,” he said. Once again, Nelson urges a phased deployment approach.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs