Michael Segal, Area VP Strategy, NETSCOUT, discusses the need for local government to accelerate the adoption cloud technology, in this article
Recent reports suggest that upward of 90% of businesses use cloud computing to some degree today. Conversely, however, less than two-thirds of local councils use cloud infrastructure. This begs the question of why local government has not embraced the capabilities of the cloud to the same extent as the business world, particularly given its potential to enable scalability, deliver cost savings, and introduce new, improved, and more reliable services.
Despite an intention to move to the cloud, to benefit from on-demand, scalable, elasticity with no capital expenditure, many local councils are still tied to on-premise IT infrastructure due to a wealth of legacy systems and applications that cannot be effectively virtualised and migrated, along with concerns around security, governance, and compliance.
For these councils, the move to the cloud can be a little less straightforward than simply deploying IaaS, and migrating applications and data. It’s important that, before any move is made, their concerns are laid to rest, by assuring each of these aspects is addressed by maintaining visibility into any application and data migrated to the cloud.
Lift and shift
By first migrating and then monitoring the performance of applications in virtualised on-premise environments, IT teams can identify those applications that will perform well in the cloud, and move them off-premise first, in different stages. Such two-step approach will enable IT teams to run the new n-tier and microservices software architectures alongside their legacy system, ensuring service uptime until the migration is complete.
As well as providing confidence in the new environment, this ‘lift and shift’ approach also provides IT professionals an interim solution for quick migration of application workloads to the cloud which buys them time for refactoring those applications to optimize their performance in the cloud. It’s worth noting, of course, that not all legacy applications will function correctly if lifted and shifted off-premise, and may need to be entirely redesigned on-premise first, or even replaced with apps developed natively in the cloud.
Constituents will, quite rightly, become frustrated should a local council’s online services become unavailable for any reason, so ensuring consistent service uptime is vital. Accompanying a cloud deployment with service assurance solutions that support continuous monitoring across hybrid environments can minimise downtime, however, and by providing IT teams with detailed insights into the environment’s performance, can help them to improve services in the future, ensuring optimum performance.
Such solutions rely on the use of ‘smart data’, generated through pervasive visibility into wire data – the traffic that flows across the entire IT and cloud infrastructure – prepared and organised at the point of collection point so that it is ready and optimised for analytics at the highest possible quality and speed.
The visibility that smart data offers across the entire environment, both on-premise and in the cloud, will not only deliver smarter insights into service assurance, but also enable a local council’s IT team to identify any service issues, and resolve them before they impact users.
What’s more, by enabling the accurate measurement of against key performance metrics, it will also allow local councils to take greater advantage of their cloud technology investments to offer more reliable services to their constituents.
With greater visibility and service assurance in the cloud, local councils can begin to overcome their initial concerns around moving to the cloud, and better enforce compliance with their internal governance policies. This, in turn, will increase their level of confidence with regard to their cloud migration, thereby unlocking significant benefits for the councils themselves and their constituents.
Ultimately, a properly managed transition, with the assurance that comes from using smart data for pervasive visibility across the entire environment, will allow local government operations to capitalise on the same benefits of on-demand, scalable, elasticity the cloud offers to businesses.
Area VP Strategy