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GCN : June 2013
delivering over the past 30 years. How- ever, "when you start to look three years forward, I don't think we are going to be talking about (on-demand) because there is going to be an expectation that we are already leveraging it," Shawn Kingsberry, CIO of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, said during a recent conference. "The real focus will be on how to con- nect dispersed data sets to turn them into more intelligent information to bet- ter serve customers in more innovative ways," he said. RATB uses a cloud hub to manage multiple services. "Going forward, there will be the in- tersection of mobility and cloud that will change everything about how services are consumed by our customers, as well as how they are delivered by IT," said Travis Howerton, chief technology officer of the Energy Department's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). The government workforce expects to be able to work on any device, anytime from any- where. As a result, the intersection of the two will fundamentally change govern- ment for the better, Howerton said. The convergence of disruptive technol- ogies will also give rise to repeatable ar- chitectures, design patterns and solutions that will allow them to become commod- itized, Howerton said. At that juncture, agency managers can stop having con- versations about the capabilities of point IT products and instead talk about how to use these new IT tools to deliver more value to agencies' missions. As agency IT managers deliver these new capabilities, it will be important for them to do so in a manner that is easy for the government workforce to use and for IT to protect -- and that would be through an IT brokerage, said Anil Karmel, deputy CTO of NNSA. A cloud or IT brokerage model will let IT insert new capabilities in a timely manner, Karmel said. DOE has partnered with NNSA to de- liver a secure cloud services brokerage technology, YOURcloud, which connects a diverse set of users, spanning federal man- agement and operations constituencies, to a marketplace of cloud service providers. The Defense Department, NASA and even smaller, innovative agencies like the RATB are embracing the cloud brokerage concept, through which they can connect a wide range of federal users and orga- nizations to a federated marketplace of cloud service providers. The concept of cloud brokers is in the early maturity stage, GSA's McClure said, and as such has a variety of definitions. A broker can provide acquisition ser- vices or can serve as a manager of disag- gregated cloud services such as infrastruc- ture, platform or software. "It is unclear what will emerge even though some bro- kerage role could be value added in an environment where cloud knowledge and experience is thin," McClure said. Agencies have to overcome challenges related to people, processes and technolo- gy in order for the cloud brokerage model to work, Karmel said. The underlying pro- cesses that drive an organization will have to be transformed from a procurement, security and technology perspective. Plus, officials have to ensure that their office has the proper technology whether they build it or purchase it. The government still needs to adopt a more modular, agile development ap- proach for building new technology and an acquisition model with six-to-eight month defined deliverables supported by impact analytics, McClure said. Other technologies that will have an im- pact on government operations in the next five to 10 years include: In-memory ana- lytics, visualization-based data discovery, search-based data discovery, collaborative decision-making and social analytics, Mc- Clure noted. • 26 GCN JUNE 2013 • GCN.COM BY JOHN BREEDEN II VIRTUALIZATION AND SDN PACK THE SERVER ROOM Entirely virtualized, software-defined data centers will change service delivery for everyone from citizens to warfighters Someone working in data centers 30 years ago wouldn't recognize them to- day, and likely the next 30 years will see just as many changes. But what will those changes be? Doug Bourgeois, chief cloud executive for VMware's U.S. Public Sector division and former director of the Interior De- partment's National Business Center, sees an overall shift to software-defined data centers, more use of big data and end-user computing. "The software-defined data center is one where all infrastructure has been virtualized, and the management of that infrastructure is completely controlled by software that is driven by policies," Bour- geois said. "What this emerging trend is essentially doing is taking what has hap- pened over the last 15 years with server virtualization and bringing that to the net- work and storage levels. Once these three levels of the infrastructure have been vir- tualized, the data center becomes orders of magnitude more agile than ever before." Other experts in the field agree. "I'm convinced that virtualization will con- tinue to offer pivotal advances within the data center," said Joe Brown, president of Accelera Solutions. "This is evident in the recent popularity of software-defined networking, which is essentially virtu- alization of the network layer beyond the traditional host virtualization. As we continue to abstract highly complex sys- tems like networks into simplified, user- [30 years of government IT]