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!


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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.

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.

In this video, we take a look at using Cognitive Toolkit (CNTK)—a unified deep learning toolkit from Microsoft.

The demo included in this video was part of our Ignite talk on cloud innovation with Azure Government. We use CNTK for an image detection problem: Identifying objects within the refrigerator.  Image detection is a harder class of problem than image classification, as image detection goes beyond classification to include localization of object(s) within an image. This is the reason for dropping down into the deep learning library. (Earlier in this presentation, Steve Michelotti showed the use of Cognitive API for image classification.)

We took Rimma Nehme’s excellent demo from BUILD 2017 and recreated it for AzureGov.

In a nutshell, we took the Marvel Universe Social Database and loaded it in Azure Cosmos DB as a graph database. Then we built a simple web page that invoked Gremlin queries against Cosmos DB.

The key theme of this demo is the ease with which you can create a globally distributed database that can support low latency queries against the Marvel Universe graph database. In the context of AzureGov (as shown below), we can seamlessly replicate the data across the three AzureGov regions by clicking on these regions within the Azure portal.

Here’s a quick look at the demo:

AIS and our CTO and Microsoft MVP Vishwas Lele are thrilled to be hosting an all-day Office 365 Developer Bootcamp THIS SATURDAY at the Reston Microsoft Office!

The Global Office 365 Developer Bootcamp is a FREE, one-day training event. Our Bootcamp will provide deep learning and a comprehensive view of all key technologies and products on the Office 365 platform. As Office 365 continues to grow across all dimensions, this is an incredible opportunity for developers to utilize these tools and apply this knowledge to create intelligent solutions more efficiently and effectively.

Get additional details on the agenda, presenters, and register for FREE here.

(Please note that all attendees should bring their own laptops and download all required software listed at the link prior to the event!)  Read More…

Earlier this week, my colleagues and I attended the 2017 Microsoft Government Cloud Forum at the Ronald Reagan building in D.C. This invitation-only event discussed topics such as IT modernization, cybersecurity, mobility, shared services, citizen engagement, and workforce management, all of which are top-of-mind these days for government employees.

AIS spent the day with Microsoft, government leaders and other partners, as we collaborated on how to both innovate and deliver more efficiently and effectively.

Lots of exciting news came out of the event, and we wanted to take a quick second to go over some of the bigger announcements: Read More…