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Improve Security and Uptime by Utilizing Automation for Hybrid Cloud

Joe Vidal, Hybrid-IT Chief Technologist, HPE

October 31, 2019  |  Cloud


The story is old, but the technology is new.

Agencies are struggling to oversee the vast systems that store and transfer federal data. IT teams are stretched thin, forcing managers to focus on day-to-day maintenance over innovation. This is especially true in hybrid environments, where workloads and other functions are shifting between cloud solutions and on-prem systems to accommodate demand, scale, budget and other variables. The complexity can strain resources and become costly and inefficient.

While there is no panacea for federal data management challenges, automation can relieve overburdened staff of routine, repetitive tasks and allow them to focus on the most pressing needs—as well as the future.

Below are three ways automating hybrid cloud environments can help federal agency servers be stronger, more resilient and less unwieldy to manage.

  1. Tighter security

Hybrid cloud security can be difficult, since each environment requires different measures to secure. For the average IT manager, this means understanding and mediating several different security processes simultaneously.

When security controls are automated, different systems can be codified into a process that ensures each cloud and on-premises environment follows its individual instructions.  This allows IT staff to be able to monitor the data-management platform as a whole, rather than separate security environments.

Under the old model, IT managers acted as security guards we would see in old movies, staring at dozens monitors side by side. No one can process that much information from that many sources. With automated cloud security, the view and processes for all of those pathways and storage containers merge to form a bigger and more manageable picture.

Beyond that, automation also enables agencies to react to cyberattacks in near-real time. Machine learning helps these cloud systems adapt quickly as novel threats become the new normal.

  1. Improved reliability

Automation also means less downtime for servers. Generally, enterprise-class servers experience “five-nines”—or about 5 minutes and 15 seconds—of unplanned downtime per year. Automation can cut that number down to 32 seconds, or “six-nines,” over the course of a year.

That’s because automated cloud environments can track errors occurring in one part of the stack that affect another part of the stack. This is done by using applied machine learning and data mining to provide cross-stack analytics and automated response.

And if, for some reason, one of the clouds does go offline, automation allows for quick and stable data recovery since snapshots of critical data and systems are stored in multiple safe places in the event of a disaster. This vastly reduces recovery time, saving precious minutes when a worst-case scenario becomes reality.

  1. More time for mission-specific tasks

With shrinking budgets and staff, it’s financially beneficial for agency IT teams to automate their hybrid cloud management limiting the time agency IT workers spend on maintenance. With an automated system in place, server admins can start working on implementing new, mission-specific projects.

And while there is still some human element to managing hybrid cloud networks, the hope is to develop self-healing data centers and cloud environments in the near future. Right now 70% of IT budgets are allocated to just keep current systems up and running. To meet the requirements and mandates around IT modernization, that number should be reversed. Agencies should be looking to spend 70% of their IT budgets on new, leading-edge technology. The way to begin your transformation journey is to start down the path of implementing automated storage operations.

HPE’s solutions along with Iron Bow’s automation and orchestration experts have the domain expertise to help guide agencies on what tools and tasks could be automated to the unique IT pain points federal agencies experience.

Our solutions provide an open choice of hybrid cloud solutions and enable a seamless experience across all clouds. We, along with partners like Iron Bow, can help agencies build the right mix of hybrid cloud as a service and automate it specifically to an agency’s unique needs.

For more information about how HPE’s automated cloud environments can help your agency, visit the ironbow.com.


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