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GovIT Authors: Kevin Jackson, Liz McMillan, Bob Gourley, Lori MacVittie, Elizabeth White

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Government Cloud Hubs – Shared Services Cloud Architecture

It’s clear there is a very powerful story about the potential for new revenue sources and local economic development

The previous blog talked about Municipalities beginning to move into a mode where they not only buy in Cloud services, but they also become a seller of them too.

Research analyst IDC calls these ‘Cloud Hubs’ in new insights they are revealing about how this effect is already occuring in the USA, with municipalities buying from ‘upstream’ State-level providers, and also selling to them too.

It’s clear there is a very powerful story about the potential for new revenue sources and local economic development, as well as a new mode of IT.

Government Cloud Hubs
The fundamental building blocks of the type of platform required for this strategy include:

  • Cloud Brokers - As highlighted in their blog, Gravitant were recently profiled by Gartner, who described the key features of what constitutes as a ‘Cloud Broker’, basically being that you buy from someone else, package it and sell it on. Gravitant provides the platform for enabling this marketplace.
  • The NIST Models Catalogue - The actual services being bought and sold need to be defined via a common language to enable these catalogues to be defined and then populated.

To explain this last part in more detail you can see in the article about the IDC research that the different types of Cloud installation can be a little confusing – All the Private/Public/Hybrid models plus SaaS, IaaS, MaaS, …. etc.

They’re initial confusing but are actually well thought out and most importantly they’ll be “baked into” the above Cloud Portal type technology, so there’s no need to master them only understand what role they will play in facilitating procurement.

Fundamentally they regulate security and privacy policies, and also the scope of commercial services, like what the Cloud Provider is and isn’t responsible for. This clarifies the service itself and associated SLAs and other product management can then be built around them.

These are the foundations that the NIST Business Use Cases are based on, which cater for users needs at the level they experience, for example they want hosted email or e-discovery, as a Cloud service.

The ability to provision and deliver Cloud services against these specifications therefore means agencies are in a position of being able to not only service their internal staff needs but also those of other organizations – An interesting opportunity to consider..

Shared Services Cloud Architecture

Canada is also active in the development of key Cloud resources relevant to this trend.

Recently they published their ‘ITSS Security Domains & Zones‘ documentation that stipulates the security models required to implement their ‘GC Community Cloud’ program, as we have documented here.

This is important because it defines a practical implementation ‘How To’ guide based on the NIST models especially the Community Cloud and the required Cloud Security required for secure multi-sharing of government applications this way.

This is a logical architecture for segregating ‘Cloud Security Zones’, linking each Cloud area (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS) to a security infrastructure component, and describing how the computing environments will be integrated with their wide area networks and access control systems, through a Cloud Services Access Layer and a Cloud Peering Layer.

Fundamentally this defines the required Virtualization Security, meaning the seperation of Virtual Machine environments in the same way vLANs seperate networks, so that agency customers can be ensure their applications are logically entirely seperate from those of other agencies. Only then will they move to multi-tenant Cloud environments.

Read the original blog entry...

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