federalcto.com The Blog of a Federal CTO

29Apr/110

Amazon in the Federal space? Absolutely!

I work for Quest Software, and focus on making sure that we are helping our Federal customers. So when one of our account managers asked me to me with Amazon, I was a little skeptical.  Amazon? Really? I mean, I know the Feds have the "Cloud-First" initiative, and there are some things here and there, but  can we really work with Amazon? What can we do with an organization that doesn't do anything with most of the platforms we support?

There's no Oracle, no Microsoft, PeopleSoft, SAP and so on.  They don't even offer email that we can migrate to or from.

Well, it was an  hour and a half well spent, and I am absolutely jazzed about some of the things we discussed. It turns out they are very, very serious about Security (with a capital S). In the Fed space, that is the number one objection to  anything Cloud related. But they not only went through some of the certs and reviews they'd had (even a SAS 70 audit, which I think pretty highly of, having been involved in one years back) but their overall architecture and philosophy. They are keenly aware of the federal requirements that are out there, and have made a substantial commitment to making sure that their federal customers are able to use their solutions

Yes, they had an outage last week, but if you have concerns about these things, you should talk to Amazon about what can be done to prevent it. The outage was Amazon's fault, but there's also options (that obviously cost) which could be implemented to avoid such a thing happening. You can find a lot more info on the outage here.

In any case, it turns out they have a lot of options, including all the way down to a VPN secured environment, if that is your requirement.  And because everything is web-based, and often accessible via web services, I think there are a few solutions that Quest have that could be used with Amazon's platforms. The conversation ranged from monitoring, to management and provisioning of resources, as well as integration with internal systems, and potentially even things like SSO and access controls. Lou J (the Quest Account Manager) even learned about Cloudbursting.

I hope to explore those options in the coming months, especially with some specific Federal customers in mind.

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Copyright (C) 2010-2011 Dmitry Kagansky – All opinions expressed are those of the respective author and do not reflect the views of any affiliate, partner, employer or associate.