You have a lot of options to consider when you’re considering cloud computing. As technology evolves, cost structures change, and security concerns become more complex, sorting through the possibilities to find the right fit for your agency becomes tougher. Advances in technology become critical, and Ed Morché, Senior Vice President and General Manager for Federal Markets at Level 3 Communications, told me today about some of those advances that are helping agencies.
“Up until recently, high-speed bandwidth has been extremely expensive, and not necessarily as reliable as it is today,” Ed said. “So in order to make sure agencies had access to the data they needed, that data got replicated and stored in 10, 15 or 20 different locations across the states.”
The evolution of technology has changed that model. “With smaller bandwidth pipes, more local in nature, shorter distance, better performance time, what we’re able to do now is consolidate those dozens of sites down to two or three sites with very high-speed bandwidth, and do things like we did for the Social Security Administration: we’re connecting their primary data centers and providing five nines (99.999%) of availability on a wavelength service.”
“They’re managing that between their data centers, which becomes a private cloud,” Ed told me. “They couldn’t have done that previously, from a cost perspective. If the bandwidth costs more than running all the other data centers, it wouldn’t have made sense. We’re at the inflection point now where it costs much less, and the availability is much higher. So it does look like a private cloud for them. All of their agency offices can reach it with the same level of performance, as if it was down the street, [but] it’s across the nation.”
We also talked about the terminology of cloud computing, and whether Ed thinks we are speaking the same language when we talk about cloud computing; a roadmap for successful data center consolidation; his views on collaboration in contracting; his company’s experience with Networx; and more challenges and observations on doing business with the Federal government.