Cloud Is Not a Destination – It’s an Operating Model

How interconnection enables trusted hybrid cloud

Cloud Is Not a Destination – It’s an Operating Model

It’s been over a decade since the federal government began its journey toward IT modernization, but progress has been slow compared to the private sector. In a recent survey of 200 federal IT decision makers, only 7% reported that they had completed their IT modernization and a little over a third (35%) indicated they had all or most of their IT systems in the cloud.[i] By contrast, 93% of enterprises said they had moved to multicloud according to the 2020 State of the Cloud Report.[ii] The top challenge cited for the slow move by federal IT leaders was that multiple solutions may need to be adopted since not all FedRAMP-authorized solutions provide a comprehensive set of functionalities.

By leveraging a vendor-neutral, globally distributed interconnection platform such as Platform Equinix®, agencies can easily address this challenge through “one-stop” direct and secure access to the world’s largest ecosystem of clouds, networks and partners.

Download the U.S. Federal Government Digital Edge Playbook

This playbook outlines how government agencies can place new command and control capabilities at the digital edge, where citizens, employees and partners and digital ecosystems like clouds, mobile, social networks, and B2B partners meet.

Supervisor Holds Briefing for His Employees in System Control Center Full of Monitors and Servers. Possibly Government Agency Conducts Investigation.

State of the federal cloud market

Surprisingly, Federal spending on cloud computing was already accelerating prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and is projected to have strong growth through 2022 as agencies continue IT modernization efforts. Deltek forecasts it will grow from $6.8 billion in 2020 to $7.8 billion by 2022, boosted by the following drivers:[iii]

  • COVID-19: Agencies needed to ramp up for remote work quickly and this is expected to remain as a long-term requirement.
  • TIC 3.0: Revisions to the long-standing Trusted Internet Connections (TIC) policy in 2018 and 2020 have made it easier for agencies to implement cloud capabilities.
  • Cloud Smart: Most agencies believe the policy is helping to drive adoption.
  • FedRAMP: A growing number of FedRAMP-compliant cloud offerings is providing agencies with greater choice in trusted solutions.

Cloud is not a destination – it’s an operating model

Moving to modern government requires a fresh approach. Digital infrastructure can no longer be viewed as a destination but as an operating model to deliver the on-demand services that the mission requires. Conventional thinking and traditional infrastructure can’t scale and deliver new capabilities with the performance, agility or efficiency that is needed. By leveraging interconnection, agency leaders can solve these challenges with a secure, modern IT platform that meets mission goals at speed.

The U.S. Federal Government digital edge playbook and Federal Government blueprint provide a proven roadmap for deploying this type of operating model with the following steps:

Re-architect information exchange

  1. Identify optimal locations — Establish a regional presence by creating a control hub in strategic locations. Identify target partners and exchanges required and leverage the Equinix Marketplace to select partners and solutions.
  2. Deploy security and control services — Migrate centralized security and operational control services to an interconnected hub. Use network functions virtualization (NFV) and security ecosystem partners to introduce defense-in-depth, such as intrusion detection, policy-based segmentation, etc.
  3. Interconnect agencies, clouds and partners — Programmatically discover and interconnect with required agencies, clouds, networks, and other partner providers and suppliers. Interconnection ensures that traffic travels through a control hub, leveraging security levels to ensure real-time compliance.
  4. Implement private data exchange — Use interconnections to build a private information exchange, tailored by mission goals, regions and demographics. Leverage software-defined networking (SDN) to optimize responsiveness and security.
  5. Scale for digital capacity — Distribute information through a service fabric comprised of digital edge nodes. Add services from partners within Equinix Marketplace, scaling to meet demand.

Integrate capabilities with multicloud

  1. Deploy hybrid multicloud infrastructure — Establish localized IP address management in the control hubs to ensure secure, low-latency communication. Localize file storage in interconnection hubs to minimize data leakage and reduce multicloud connectivity, complexity and cost. Deploy a localized cloud key store to secure identity management.
  2. Deploy applications in clouds — Incrementally migrate legacy applications to SaaS-based services in control hubs. Securely integrate new, cross-cloud workflows while keeping sensitive data under your control.
  3. Integrate compliant partners — Leverage the ecosystem for fully compliant partners that can enhance an offering with new capabilities. Build new multicloud workflows tailored for each agency and region.
  4. Choose API-based services built for elasticity — Improve innovation and agility with new services composed of standards-compliant functions discoverable via APIs, reducing the burden and cost implications of building in-house.
  5. Contract with spend flexibility — Build policy-based, “pay-as-you-use” consumption models.

Enable digital government

  1. Optimize the user experience — Integrate and deploy API release management tools designed to work across multiple devices and protocols. Emphasize rapid delivery with security compliance sandbox testing for beta releases. Deploy user experience policies to enforce regional configurations.
  2. Share data with other agencies — Deploy data ingestion and integration managers into a control hub. Use data governance polices across data pipelines for inter-agency and partner exchange.
  3. Achieve fast and agile insights with actionable data — Leverage SaaS-based analytic modeling tools to examine regional, national and global trends using data aggregated in the hubs. Develop and deploy event processors to drive actions, workflows and alerts.
  4. Create smart nation foundation — Deploy internet of things (IoT) gateways in each control hub, using data lakes as staging areas for aggregation and scrubbing. Integrate with event processors to derive trends, actionable insights or threats.
  5. Achieve mission resilience — Implement localized disaster recovery managers at each hub, leveraging a global data consistency replication manager that works across the fabric.
$7.8 Billion

Federal spending on cloud computing is projected to grow to $7.8 billion by 2022 according to Deltek.

A global interconnection solution such as Equinix FabricTM makes it easy to implement these steps and achieve an agile, scalable trusted hybrid multicloud digital infrastructure.

To learn more, download the U.S. Federal Government Digital Edge Playbook and schedule an interactive virtual Digital Edge Strategy Briefing.


[i] Maximus and Genesys, FedRAMP Survey Results Report, 2020.

[ii] Flexera 2020 State of the Cloud Report blog and report.

[iii] Deltek, Deltek’s Federal Cloud Computing Market, 2020-2022 blog and report.

Digital infrastructure can no longer be viewed as a destination but as an operating model to deliver the on-demand services that the mission requires."
A global interconnection solution such as Equinix FabricTM makes it easy to achieve an agile, scalable trusted hybrid multicloud digital infrastructure."
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