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Cloud computing

Clouds are ever evolving. In technology terms, we generally think of it as a ‘hyperscale cloud’, built with near infinite scale and almost limitless possibilities. The pragmatic reality of adopting cloud, especially within government, is shades of grey in nature. Alongside the challenges of simply ‘adopting the technology’ come political, policy, privacy, and regulatory requirements that may make the journey more complex.

Our experience consistently shows that having a clear determining of needs relating to the challenge is critical in understanding the most appropriate cloud strategy.

Listening to our government clients across the world outline the challenges they have experienced over the last 18 months, full adoption of the hyperscale cloud is not always immediately practical or possible. In these cases, we support governments to adopt a Hybrid Cloud approach. You may be thinking, ‘what exactly is a Hybrid Cloud?’

Hybrid Cloud is a computing environment that combines hyperscale cloud and on-premises infrastructure, including private cloud, by allowing data and applications to be shared between them. It gives you more deployment options and greater flexibility to scale computing resources and take advantage of cloud innovation, while offering interoperability with your on-premises environment. Microsoft’s Hybrid Cloud portfolio is vast and varied, representing an expansive toolkit that meet customers where they are along their digital transformation journey.

Now, let’s talk about the elephant in the room, data residency. It’s one of the first questions we are asked during customer cloud engagements. Your country, nation, and/or jurisdiction will likely have a set of guidelines relating to where certain data types should reside. It’s imperative to classify and label your data to distinguish between data which can be moved to the cloud without controversy and data which needs to be held to a different regulatory standard. If you don’t have this, it will be one of your first priorities. It’s also worth noting that while the broad Microsoft portfolio brings a diverse set of tools to this problem, different hybrid architectures differ dramatically in terms of their data location characteristics.

With a clear and deliberate data classification strategy in play, there are four key areas where Hybrid Cloud capabilities can provide benefits as governments move towards a hyperscale cloud. They include:

  1. Data center modernization. Bring cloud techniques, such as software-defined data centers, self-service, and elasticity based on virtualization into your data centers. This is a great steppingstone to fully embracing the hyperscale cloud.
  2. Unified operations, security, and governance. Efficiently manage compliance with proliferating standards and infrastructure that is sprawling across on-premises, public cloud, hybrid, and multi-cloud implementations using a single, centralized perspective.
  3. Application innovation. Integrate innovative techniques and technology such as personalization, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), the Internet of Things (IoT), mobile, and security at speed without complex hardware procurement and configuration hassles.
  4. Unpredictable workloads. Handle the emergency needs or cyclical demands of your government without overprovisioning large amounts of hardware, by bursting to the cloud when your need for capacity increases.

As you move forward on your cloud journey, Hybrid Cloud architectures and capabilities can help you manage your estate, build oversight and control, and gain insights from the data you hold. These approaches can help you maximize the value you can get from the current stage of your journey and build solid foundations for your progression.

For more details, visit Multicloud and Hybrid Cloud solutions | Microsoft Azure to learn more. Or, connect with one of our Public Sector Center of Expertise representatives by emailing Ask-ps@microsoft.com.