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I thought Per Werngren made some important observations in his recent article for Redmond Channel Partner Magazine. His main point: System Integrators (SIs) need to evolve their business models or risk disintermediation. As workloads are migrated to AWS and Azure, automation replaces the need for people to perform those tasks. This automation enables governance and compliance to standards, while also setting the stage for better downstream, fully-automated management, monitoring and operations. This, of course, further reduces the need for people performing in those roles,

Meanwhile, the new generation of intelligent PaaS services for predictive analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, etc. are also replacing jobs once done by hand. These new tools allow us to build better and more intelligent applications.

Despite all this potential for automation, we still regularly see organizations allowing contractors to move workloads manually. It’s simply in a staffing contractor’s best interest to have people do this, despite it being a time-consuming and error-prone process. But why would an SI recommend automation and reduce their long-term revenue? Read More…

The Microsoft Azure team recently announced significant (up to 72%) discounts for customers willing to make one- to three-year reservations. Reserved Instances (RI) are not new, of course – Amazon Web Services (AWS) has had RI for a long time. But are there differences in how the Azure team rolled out RI?

For example: When does it really make sense to use an RI? Can RI discounts be combined with unique offers, like Azure Hybrid Benefit? Can customers cancel their reservation or exchange reserved VM types? What are some of best practices when making these decisions about one-year vs. three-year reservations?

We tried to answer many of these questions in the slide deck below, which we prepared for an internal briefing.

Hope this helps, and please let us know if you have any additional questions in the comments below!

While cloud is fast becoming the “new normal” for government, agencies are still challenged with the daunting task of IT modernization and developing a cohesive cloud migration strategy. Oftentimes, what’s holding back progress is that there simply isn’t a one-size-fits-all cloud playbook. That, combined with agency culture, hinders many agencies from making the move to cloud.

The November #AzureGov Meetup this week brought in both a packed house and a great lineup of government and industry experts who shared their best practices on critical components for cloud success, including: stakeholder engagement, evaluation, planning, implementation, outcomes…and the cultural changes you need to ensure a smooth transition.

We also celebrated the two year anniversary of the #AzureGov Meetup!


Read More…

AIS is pleased to announce the availability of the NIST SP 800-53 Rev 4 Azure Blueprint Architecture.

(NIST SP 800-53 security controls could be an entire series of blog posts in itself…so if you want to learn more than I cover here, check out NIST’s website.)

The NIST SP 800-53 Rev 4 Azure Blueprint Architecture applies a NIST SP 800-53 Rev 4 compliant architecture with the click of a button to the Azure Government Cloud subscription of your choice. Okay, maybe there are a few clicks with some scripts to prep the environment, but I swear that’s it!  This allows organizations to quickly apply a secure baseline architecture build to their DevOps pipeline. They can also add it to their source control themselves to accompany their application source code. (If you want assistance in implementing this within your greater cloud and/or DevOps journey, AIS can help with our Compliance and Security Services offering.) Read More…

Recently I had an opportunity to sit down with Steve Michelotti, Program Manager on the AzureGov team and talk about a Machine Learning (ML) application we built for a federal agency. This application is great example of how AIS leverages the latest innovations on the AzureGov platform to build applications that align with agencies’ missions – and go beyond IT support to directly assist in meeting the mission objectives.

Specifically, this application was designed to help analysts get personalized recommendations (based on their own preference settings, ratings provided by their co-workers) for stories they need to analyze as part of their daily work.

Brent Wodicka from AIS described this application in an earlier blog post. Read More…

In an article on Defense One this week, U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan put out a call on behalf of the Pentagon:

We want you — to get us into the cloud much faster.

We need the private sector’s help to vault DOD into the world of elastic computing and machine learning.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but AIS can definitely do that. In fact, we already have! And we have an entire cloud adoption framework and strategy specifically designed for the Department of Defense.

Navigating DoD organizations through complex cloud migrations is never an “easy” task, but the AIS DoD Cloud Adoption Framework is built on a solid foundation of compliance, best practices and lessons learned from countless successful commercial and DoD secure cloud migrations.

A few other benefits, while we’re bragging here:

  • Don’t Stop at Lift and Shift: AIS can take your existing lift and shift cloud efforts and transform them into PaaS and SaaS options for advantageous use of new Cloud technologies.
  • AIS Cloud DoD-ready Blueprints: Ensure your compliance with DoD STIGS and L2, L4 and L5 baselines from the start.
  • AIS Templated DoD Business Cases: Ensure you meet all the requirements for DoD’s internal governance processes and quickly gain ATO approval to move to the cloud
  • AIS Automation Capabilities: Reduce your costs and speed your migration of
    your systems into the cloud
  • Sustainment Operations: AIS manages your Cloud investment, leveraging new
    Cloud services increase efficiencies. Your continued success is our passion!

From the Defense One article:

This rapid adoption of cloud infrastructure and platform services is not the end, but a beginning: laying a foundation that can revolutionize how DOD deploys information technology services, develops advanced capabilities, and unleashes the power of agile computational resources and advanced data analytics.

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves! Let’s get started.

Copyright: <a href='https://www.123rf.com/profile_mettus'>mettus / 123RF Stock Photo</a>How to Easily Make and Keep Your Data Safe

Is your organization prepared if disaster strikes?

Hurricane Harvey is expected to cause $180 billion dollars of economic damage. Imagine if you were a business headquartered in an area affected by a natural disaster and had all your data stored on-site. You’ve probably been thinking about backing up all your businesses data to the cloud, but haven’t gotten around to it yet.

What would that do to your business? How easy would it be for you to get back to “business as usual?”

Would Your Organization Survive?

In the aftermath of the devastation caused by hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, it’s vital for your organization to examine your disaster recovery strategy and plan for dealing with the unexpected—especially if your organization relies heavily on the data you have.

“As companies have increased dependence on IT systems to deliver their services more quickly, the ability to recover from the effects of disasters has become more important and more complex.” –Gartner

Moving your mission-critical data to the cloud is a great first step. Cloud technologies can be implemented for business continuity through automated disaster recovery or for fully-hosted production workloads providing native continuity, increased reliability, security, and redundancy. Read More…

Our CTO and well-known public cloud expert, Vishwas Lele was the first special guest on a brand-new webinar series hosted by Io-Tahoe and Andrew Brust (Io-Tahoe’s Market Strategy Advisor and contributor to ZDNet).

On the inaugural episode, Vishwas and Andrew discussed data breaches, what can be done about them, and how to mitigate the problems in a constructive way. The webinar was recorded (link provided below), so take a listen to hear the fascinating perspectives from two industry experts on data breaches. They explored what “common” and “not-so-common” data exploitation attacks (active breaches and passive breaches) look like, how best to prevent such attacks, and the exposure companies can face when these breaches do happen.

Some of the other topics discussed:

    • How data can be lost, stolen or hacked when organizations don’t have an effective DR strategy.
    • The hidden vulnerability of passive data with archival analytics.
    • A review of Microsoft’s heavy investments in security, and why public cloud infrastructure is ahead of the curve relative to the compliance standards of enterprises with private data centers.
    • And above all, how to get better business value out of your data through effective management and governance.

  Watch the webinar recording here.