5 tips for keeping up with IT change
Hybrid IT — migrating some infrastructure to the cloud while continuing to maintain a significant number of applications and services onsite — is a shift in the technology landscape currently spreading across the federal government. Agencies are looking to realize the many benefits of the cloud (cost efficiency, agility) without the perceived drawbacks (security, compliance).
Are agencies truly ready for this new type of environment? Or, a more targeted question: Are federal IT professionals ready for the shift?
The reality of managing and maintaining this type of technology pivot falls directly onto federal IT pros. These federal workers are the ones that must ensure always-on application and service performance — regardless of location.
In order to prepare, government IT pros must now arm themselves with a new set of skills, products and resources to succeed in the hybrid IT era. To help with this transition, we have put together a list of five tips that will help folks not only to survive, but thrive within this new environment.
Tip 1: Work across departmental silos.
The ultimate goal of IT is to ensure optimal productivity for the end-user community. Working across departmental silos will help speed up technology updates and changes, software deployments and time-to-resolution for problems — all of which will meet the goal of greater end-user productivity. What is the best way to establish these cross-departmental relationships? A good place to start is by implementing the principles of a DevOps approach, where the development and operations teams work together to achieve greater agility and organizational efficiency. DevOps, for example, sets the stage for quick updates and changes to infrastructure, which makes IT services — on-premises or within the cloud — more agile and scalable.
Tip 2: Optimize visibility with a single version of the truth.
In a hybrid environment, the federal IT pro must manage both on-premises and cloud resources. This can present a challenge. The solution? Invest in a management and monitoring toolset that presents a single view — a single version of the truth — across platforms. There will be metrics, alerts and other collected data coming in from a broad range of applications and workloads, regardless of their location. Having a single view of all this information will enable a more efficient approach to remediation, troubleshooting and optimization.
Tip 3: Apply monitoring. Period.
Monitoring has always been the foundation of a successful IT department. In a hybrid IT environment, monitoring is absolutely critical. A hybrid environment is highly complex. Agencies must establish monitoring as a core IT function; only then will they realize the benefit of a more proactive IT management strategy, while also streamlining infrastructure performance, cost and security.
Tip 4: Improve cloud-service knowledge.
As more IT services become available through the cloud — and, in turn, through the cloud provider — it becomes increasingly important for the federal IT pro to fully understand, and use where appropriate, available cloud services. This will require what may seem like a completely new skill set, additional training and new certifications.
Tip 5: Focus on developing new technical skills and knowledge.
As noted in Tip 4, federal IT pros will need to expand their knowledge base. In addition to becoming highly familiar with the cloud and potential cloud offerings, they must understand how traditional and cloud environments intersect. For example, it will be important to understand service-oriented architectures, automation, vendor management, application migration, distributed architectures, application programming interfaces, hybrid IT monitoring and management tools as well as metrics. Knowledge across boundaries will be the key to success in a hybrid IT environment.
Working through a technology shift is never easy, especially for the folks implementing, managing and maintaining all the changes. That said, by following the above tips, agencies will be able to realize the benefits of a hybrid cloud environment, while the IT team thrives within the new environment.