MiCloud – Government Cloud Storage

Diagram showing economics of cloud computing v...

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With an annual budget of over $80 billion the US Government is the largest IT buyer in the world, and they are looking to Cloud Computing as the strategic technology to enable this cost base reduction.

The state of Michigan is an excellent example of the best practices that agencies can adopt to achieve this locally.

Read the MiCloud Case Study to see how their approach tackles

  • rogue cloud sourcing,
  • automates user provisioning,
  • frees up staff to work on more innovative projects
  • how they integrate Cloud procurement into their project management SDLC,

and how this can be used as a baseline to define ‘Government Cloud Storage‘.

Government Cloud Storage

Government Cloud Storage (GovCloudStorage.com) is a key example of the business benefits of Cloud Computing, and the technical features that need to be in place to realize these benefits securely.

The US federal government spends over $80 billion each year on IT, with $20 billion going on server and storage hardware that at times is only utilized to levels as low as 7%. They have announced a “Cloud first” policy to begin reducing this expenditure by leveraging the cost-efficiencies of a growing Cloud supplier marketplace.

The primary mechanism that enables these cost-savings to be achieved is the core of what Cloud Computing is all about: Multi-tenancy.

Suppliers can only offer reduced costs when they are able to create economies of scale, where multiple customers can be run atop one single physical platform.

This immediately raises concerns over data privacy leaks in shared environments, and the combination of best practices, open standards and technologies required to protect and assure against this are what makes up the Government Cloud Storage definition.

Hybrid Cloud Storage

The best practice open standards for building this type of storage outsourcing is known as ‘Hybrid Cloud Storage’, defined by the SNIA – Storage Networking Industry Association.

This is explained in their white paper ‘Managing Private and Hybrid Clouds for Data Storage‘ (12-page PDF). They explain how an IT organization can incorporate storage from Cloud providers into a single framework that includes their own local SAN resource too. This can then be applied for scenarios like backup, virtual disks and e-archiving.

This is based on their CDMI standard (Cloud Data Management Interface) so that they can implement Private Cloud as a means of standardizing vendor storage interfaces, integrating legacy systems and includes an ‘export’ function to link in Cloud based services.

MiCloud Services

The MiCloud best practice case study can then be used to identify the other best practce open standards and services that can be applied to achieve a ‘Government class’ utility.

We’re incubating new Cloud Venture protocols to enable:

  • End-user controlled encryption
  • Virtual Machine Privacy – The ability to assure the data privacy of multi-tenant environments
  • Compliance with Identity Access standards
  • Data replication across multiple sites
  • Record integrity systems, audit facilities, to ensure IM compliance

Service providers that adopt these configurations will be able to offer Government-ready storage utility.

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