ReadWriteWeb reported this week on a new initiative by Amazon Web Services to provide secure storage for US government customers. It’s all well and good for the government to off load some storage to the Cloud to save the tax paying public some dough, but the government faces a bigger problem; how to get the big picture view its current set of assets. Perhaps Applications Performance Management (APM) monitoring tools could help.
According to the RWW article, a government report found that US government data centers were using less than 30 percent of their capacity. Not sure how that compares to private sector data usage, but it points to a large amount of unused resources any way you slice it. The article goes onto say that former US CIO Vivek Kundra and his lieutenants were hamstrung further by a lack of tools to count those assets.
The cloud could help provide Uncle Sam with a cheaper storage solution, but it wouldn’t do anything to help the government decide which data centers to shutter as they move more functionality to the cloud without more information.
One thing APM tools can do is help you see the big picture of your IT infrastructure. If you can trace transactions across your IT data center, perhaps you could start to map out that environment as you do it, at least within individual data centers. With this information, government IT executives could begin to patch together a big picture overview of the IT assets controlled by the government across its many data centers.
As we made clear in a post last week, you need baseline data as a first step for measuring any kind of monitoring success, and until you know, exactly what you own — whether you’re the government or a sprawling enterprise — you can’t know for sure if the cloud is actually saving you anything.
The government is an excellent test case in matters like this because it’s so large and has a variety of data centers spread out geographically across the country. If you are a large corporation with a similar setup, you could watch and learn.
For now, it might behoove the federal IT powers that be to check out some APM tools. They might just help them get a grip on just how many IT assets the government owns and just how much money they might be saving by moving some of that to the cloud.