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GCN : February 2013
GCN FEBRUARY 2013 • GCN.COM 7 CASE STUDY City of cials in Melrose, Mass., learned the importance of suf cient bandwidth when they decided to do the neighborly thing and offer their cloud services to a nearby municipality. But the small city, seven miles north of Boston with a population of 28,150, hit a wall when its IT department attempted to provide infrastructure-as-a-service via a private cloud to Essex, 25 miles away. Melrose's IT team spent the rst six months of 2012 providing Essex with infrastructure-as-a service -- on-demand access to computing processing, stor- age, and network resources -- using commodity Internet connections and a variety of wide-area network aggregation and optimization technology. "Basically, we found out that it was not feasible to do infrastructure-as-a-service that way," said Jorge Pazos, Melrose's CIO. Latency or delays in the network was the issue. "Latency really killed us in providing these services," he said. Melrose built a secure, multi-tenant cloud that could host several communi- ties. Ultimately, a regional data center or cloud hub would reduce each town's burden to build its own IT infrastructure; in addition, Melrose would realize ad- ditional revenue. "We were hoping we could get away with it for one or two municipalities, but eventually we knew we would have to do a direct connect model like Amazon Web Services, where you plug directly into data center-to-data center or location-to- data center," Pazos said. So his team spent last summer going through a bid process to bring in a tele- [datapoint] Since mid-2011, virtually all executive branch federal employees have had a Personal Identity Verification cards, the interoperable smart ID card that is to be used for both physical and logical access. PIV cards? Everybody's got one. Source: Homeland Security Department BY RUTRELL YASIN com carrier that could provide Multipro- tocol Label Switching service. The city chose Comcast's Ethernet Network Ser- vice, which created a connection between the Essex and Melrose data centers. ENS lets organizations connect physically dis- tributed locations across a metropolitan area network as if they were on the same local-area network. The service provides virtual LAN transparency and lets users implement their own VLANs without coor- dination with Comcast. Offering direct connections to Melrose data centers was in the original plan but scheduled for later in the deployment. "We were hoping we wouldn't have to move to that as soon as we did," Pazos explained. Melrose's IT team spent the latter part of 2012 rerouting and connecting Es- sex's infrastructure to the ENS circuits. Now Melrose is moving along with its offering of cloud-based services to Essex, looking at a hybrid cloud model that would be a combination of a private cloud and a commercial cloud provider. In that scenario, the main data center would run on Melrose's private cloud while a secondary data center offering disaster and business continuity-as-a- service would run in a commercial cloud provider's data center. The town tested the hybrid waters last year with some pilot projects, Pazos said. The shared services model is an entirely different way of managing technology, he said, and there is a learn- ing curve for the cloud-based services providers and the users. "You really need to understand what a private cloud is and what a hybrid is, if that's the route you are going to go down," Pazos advised. • 0 300,000 Federal Employees Federal Contractors Guests and others 252,800 73,951 3,079 Being a good cloud neighbor is harder than you think