"This is not just swapping out the underlying technology and simply re-hosting or moving, but it really is fundamentally looking in a very different sort of way at how you architect, design, build and move forward with your IT enterprise," Zielinski says. "One of the things that we really have to look at is as we're making that move and that shift, we really are looking at the entire application stack and what the ramifications are, because if you're not making that change to your overall application stack, then you really are just buying a different version of the same problem."
Of course, cloud computing projects can carry a host of other challenges for federal CIOs, including winning the buy-in from the agency leadership and the business lines of the organization. Cloud deployments, particularly those with a usage-based billing model, can also upend traditional procurement practices, though Simpson says those issues aren't the biggest impediment to cloud migrations at the FDA.
Instead, he points to the security concerns that can accompany a cloud migration, and, in particular, the challenge of hammering out contracts with vendors that provide sufficient flexibility down the road if the service is not meeting the agency's needs.
"It seems to me that we've had more issues with licensing than anything in the cloud," he says. "I didn't want to say 'bait-and-switch,' but you have to watch the wording of the contracts very, very carefully. You have to make sure that the contracts have the leverage that you need to be able to exit, should you choose to do that, or to maneuver basically without having to go back and revisit the procurement process later. That's the key."
Source: CIO Australia
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