2017 Government of the Future Summit: Interview

The federal data center is moving more and more towards the cloud. Agencies are starting to see the benefits of the cloud, such as scalability, flexibility and cost-effectiveness. Hybrid infrastructures are essential to this transition, allowing these organizations to keep some workloads on-prem while moving others to the cloud. This interview with Randy Hayes (Avere Systems) at the Government of the Future Summit provides insight into the future of the federal data center and what agencies should look for when moving to the cloud.


- Hello, everyone. Welcome to Fedscoop tv. My name is Greg Otto, and we're here at the Verizon Government of the Future Summit today, and I'm talking with Randy Hayes, Federal Sales Manager for Avere Systems. Randy, thanks for joining us today.

- Absolutely, thanks for having me.

- So you have a lot of federal customers. What does the evolution and the future of the federal data center look like?

- That's a great question. I think, as you see the industry start to consolidate, you have the Dell's and the EMC's of the world, HPE, really doubling down on on-prem hardware and software solutions, and you also see the cloud architectures starting to make a bigger push into the data centers. So, you have Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, and then Oracle and IBM are starting to do a lot more infrastructure as a service as well as applications as a service. So I think you're going to see a lot of hybrid architectures, where agencies are going to start really trying to pick and choose what applications belong on-prem and what applications belong in the cloud. I think that general evolution is going to continue to push towards the cloud in the long term as people start to realize some of the financial gains by moving workloads up into the cloud.

- So let's talk about the cloud a little bit more. How do you see that evolving? Let's go a little bit more in-depth. Let's talk about where is that balance in hybrid and on-prem and off-prem?

- Yeah, absolutely. So, I think initially what you've seen are applications moving to the cloud are kind of low-hanging fruit, or whatever analogy you want to use. These are things like websites and web applications that are already kind of built for the cloud architecture and have already been pushed up into the cloud. I think you'll see more and more mail services. If you think about, even in the early '90's you had Hotmail, and pretty much everybody has a Gmail account today, so I think you'll see more and more agencies continue to go down the mail route, and push those types of applications that are already cloud-ready, and have proved their worth in the cloud, on the commercial side.

I think you'll start to see back-ups and large archives start to move to the cloud as the federal government is really pushing data center consolidation and things like that. There's not really a better use case around data consolidation than moving those types of applications up into the cloud.

So, I think the other side of that is you're going to see a lot of hybrid cloud workloads because right now you have agencies that have some workloads in the cloud, but users and applications that are still on-prem. Having something that can ease that transition into the cloud, I think is very appropriate.

These are applications that can handle the latency. One of the big challenges with the cloud is that your data is somewhere else. It's not in your data center, so if you still have applications that require low-latency applications to those data sets, you need some sort of virtualization, acceleration caching architecture.

It's one of the things that Avere provides, but to the same notion, a lot of people have really big capital investments in storage already. So it doesn't make sense to pump all that data into the cloud, because then you're paying for it twice. Having the ability to also cache some of those workloads and get the spin-up, spin-down capabilities of the compute clusters inside of Amazon and Google and Microsoft moving forward, I think really gives some benefit to the federal government. Because then they can pick and choose what applications make sense while still having a consistent data center experience for those end users on that end.

I think moving forward, the cloud will continue to creep into the data center, if you will, and people will continue to move data sets into the cloud. However, there are certain data sets that need to remain on-prem and close to those applications or users. So, I think the future is bright from a cloud perspective, but there are certainly still applications that are going to live on-prem, on that end.

- What would you say to an agency that is looking to move more of their systems into the cloud? What do they need to do or what's the one thing that they need to concentrate on in order to be successful?

- I have a lot of friends in the Special Forces community and if you watch those guys walk into buildings they always know their exits. They always know how to get out of a situation. So I think one of the biggest things that agencies need to think about is, “how do you get out of a cloud solution?”

You have to have data mobility and being able to just put your data up there and running applications is great, but it has to be cost effective. What happens if those cloud architectures all of a sudden say, “Hey, we got you locked in. Your price is going to start steadily increase?” Because let's be honest, companies are here to make money. So, they are here to support the customer and the agency workloads, but to the same notion, I think you have to have the idea of data mobility to be able to exit out of certain clouds and go to the cloud architecture, or the on-prem architecture, that saves you the most money. That’ really what it comes down to, I think.

I think the agencies are going to be forced to re-evaluate how they're doing things, and I think you're going to see a lot more efficiency come out of the government. I think the efficiency and the conversations that people are having is going to breed innovation. That's one of the really neat things, the thing that I'm excited about from a federal perspective moving forward is really the innovation that's going to come out of people asking the hard questions and getting out of this tunnel of the federal government, where they've always done things this way. I think they're going to start having to look in other potential use cases.

- Great, great. Well Randy, I appreciate your insight. Thank you for stopping by.

- Absolutely, thank you. I appreciate your time.

- For all of our videos, check out our YouTube channel and for more information, check out fedscoop.com I'm Greg Otto. Thanks for watching.