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GCN : November 2013
AMAZON WEB SERVICES (AWS) and IBM recently have been battling in court over a $600 million contract to build a private cloud for the CIA. That s a sizable contract, but it s worth much more than its face value. Let s briefly examine the facts in the case and their ramifications: • AWS wins the contract from the CIA in late 2012. • IBM protests to the Govern- ment Accountability O ce in February 2013. • GAO sides with IBM on two points and recommends the CIA rebid the contract. • AWS sues the government to stop the re-bid. IBM files as "intervener" in the case. • On Oct. 7, a federal judge rules in favor of AWS. Why did IBM protest? AWS is the leader in o ering cloud computing services to businesses and IBM is trying to establish a foothold in the space by leveraging its long history of providing IT services to the government. In many ways, Amazon in this space is disrupting the traditional enterprise IT market. Like other technol- ogy disruptions, specifically smartphones, vendors that do not adapt quickly may go out of business. Praveen Asthana, chief marketing o cer of Cloud Brokerage company Gravitant, stated in a recent interview that "Cloud com- puting is the next enterprise battlefield." Why does this one contract matter? Because it is part of a larger, Intelligence Com- munity (IC) cloud vision, as stated on the O ce of the Director of National Intel- ligence website: "In 2012, IC CIO embarked on the largest IT transformation in the his- tory of the Intelligence Com- munity. This transformation, guided by the IC Information Technology Enterprise (IC ITE) Strategy, focuses on enabling greater integra- tion, information sharing, and information safeguard- ing through a common IC IT approach that substantially reduces costs." This type of large-scale enterprise transformation is the linchpin that will finally move the cloud "across the chasm" to mainstream adop- tion. Furthermore, for the companies involved, the lessons learned and experi- ence gained from tackling and solving the migration challenges are invaluable. First-mover advantage is just as real in cloud computing as it has been in every other computing revolution. Cloud computing is still evolving, so digging into a well-funded customer s problem set is the best way to work through the "growing pains" stage. For example, containers-as-a- service is emerging as a lighter weight alternative to current virtualization technol- ogies used by infrastructure- as-a-service providers. These types of issues are best sorted out on real-world problems. So, what does all this mean? The writing is on the wall: Cloud computing is inevitable. The traditional IT infrastructure cannot handle the demands of burst users (as witnessed in the recent Obamacare exchange crashes), nor does it o er elasticity (cost savings for tight budgets), big data capa- bility (exponential growth in data volume) or agility (rapid provisioning in minutes). Just like IBM and Amazon, most organizations see the benefits of this new computing-as- a-utility landscape and are ready to forge a roadmap to get there. A key part of that roadmap is how to migrate your ap- plications to the cloud. In my new book, "The Great Cloud Migration," I introduce the "Triple-A" strategy for crafting your implementation plan: Assessment, Architecture and then Action. While the temptation is to jump right to the Action stage, you will find that path leads to wasted money and numerous blind alleys. Assess your current state via metadata collection (hardware, applications, data, organizational readiness, and architectural readiness) and evaluation methods (capacity analysis, risk analysis, com- plexity analysis, etc.). After assessing your current state, analyze and design your objective architecture. A cloud-native architecture is di erent than traditional ar- chitectures and stresses loose- coupling, Web standards, asynchronous messaging and much more. After these two stages you are ready to take action and begin the migration process. Migrating your applications to this new cloud-native architecture is an opportunity to develop an agile IT infrastructure that delivers compute power as simply as utilities deliver electric power! • --- Michael C. Daconta (md- firstname.lastname@example.org) is the Vice President of Ad- vanced Technology at InCa- dence Strategic Solutions and the former Metadata Program Manager for the Homeland Security Department. His new book is entitled, "The Great Cloud Migration: Your Road- map to Cloud Computing, Big Data and Linked Data." THE GREAT CLOUD MIGRATION HAS BEGUN REALITY CHECK BY MICHAEL DACONTA This type of large-scale enterprise transformation is the linchpin that will finally move the cloud 'across the chasm' to mainstream adoption. 20 GCN NOVEMBER 2013 • GCN.COM