When Private Cloud is the Right Fit for Public Sector Missions

It’s no secret that IT modernization is a top priority for the US federal government. A quick trip in the congressional time machine to revisit 2017’s Modernizing Government Technology Act surfaces some of the most salient points regarding agencies’ challenges:

  • The federal government spends nearly 75% of its annual information technology funding on operating and maintaining existing legacy information technology systems.
  • These systems can pose operational risks, including rising costs and the inability to meet mission requirements. 
  • These systems also pose security risks, including the inability to use current security best practices, such as data encryption and multi-factor authentication, making these systems particularly vulnerable to malicious cyber activity.

In the private sector, excluding highly regulated industries like financial services, the migration to the public cloud was the answer to most IT modernization woes, especially those around data, analytics, and storage. But the public sector has unique challenges with a wholesale migration of data to the public cloud, most exemplified in the shift from cloud first to a cloud smart approach in the Federal Cloud Computing Strategy.

To quote Gartner VP Sid Nag, the “irrational exuberance of procuring cloud services” gave way to a more rational approach that prioritizes governance and security over which cloud to migrate workloads to, be it public, private, or hybrid. 

Translation: Government agenciesespecially those under the Department of Defense (DoD)have use cases that require data storage and analytic workloads to be maintained on premises to retain absolute control of data security, privacy, and cost predictability. 

Yet government agencies still need to tick the modernization box and gain the efficiency and functionality that comes with cloud innovation. It’s here where the private cloud delivers.

Whether the agency is migrating to a private cloud or repatriating from public to private, supporting sensitive agency missions requires modern data architectures with purpose-built data services to deploy the various layers (data fabric and data lakehouse for instance) and deliver the capabilities and benefits of the public cloud in on-prem environments. 

Mission use case: increasing visibility and mitigating supply chain risk 

While the DoD is responsible for “providing the military forces needed to deter war and ensure our nation’s security,” there are a lot of moving parts and logistical operations required to carry out this mission. The supply chain challenges are immense, made more challenging by the recent COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the global supply chain.

On the most basic level, every base needs subsistence supplies for the service men and women they house and feed. That seems straightforward. But supply chain visibility into the millions (or billions) of parts that comprise the hundreds or thousands of devices and weapons systems that make up our military infrastructure is critical to maintaining battle readiness and regulatory compliance.

The source and availability of every material and part across each branch is an opportunity for risk. Natural disasters and severe weather have serious impacts on supply chain continuity. These are challenges that must be assessed and mitigated and ultimately resolved with data. 

Cloudera’s hybrid data platform, Cloudera Data Platform (CDP) Private Cloud, and our data-in-motion services, Cloudera Data Flow (CDF), enable DoD agencies to capture, store, unify, analyze and act on supply chain data and data sources at massive speed and scale—regardless of data types, including batch and real-time weather, GPS, IoT, and RFID data.

Through modern data architectures powered by CDP, including Cloudera-enabled data fabric, data lakehouse, and data mesh, DoD agencies can rapidly provision and manage innovative data engineering, data warehouse, and machine learning environments, with access to secured supply chain data stored in CDP Private Cloud. Once provisioned, DoD agencies can then leverage advanced multi-function analytics and AI/ML–based prediction and modeling capabilities to analyze, visualize, and model both real-time and historical data that drive supply chain insights and reduce risks. Most importantly, these benefits are realized with the optimum security and governance required for the DoD’s most sensitive objectives.

Data is one of the DoD’s most strategic assets. From toothpaste and meals ready to eat (MREs) to fighter jets, the success of the US war fighter depends on the data management capabilities that ensure the continuity and security of the supply chain. By adopting Cloudera’s mission-proven CDP Private Cloud and Cloudera Data Flow platforms, the DoD will be empowered to achieve improved visibility and transparency into all aspects of the supply chain balanced with data governance and security. Learn more about CDP Private Cloud here.

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