DOT agency takes mission-critical database to the cloud

The Transportation Department is migrating mission-critical applications connected with the agency’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to the cloud, according to company officials involved in the project.

DOT will move FMCSA’s driving record database and related systems to a FISMA-certified cloud data center run by Virtustream, which has partnered with OBXtek and MicroTech on the effort known as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Gateway Augmentation Project. Virtustream will also host FMCSA’s website.

FMCSA’s mission is to reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities involving large trucks and buses. The agency enforces data-driven regulations that balance motor carrier safety with industry efficiency and uses safety information systems to focus on higher risk motor carriers in enforcing safety regulations.

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Mission-critical apps need major overhaul for the cloud, feds say

DOT will use MicroTech's cloud computing solution, MicroKloud, to migrate applications from a stand-alone, client/server environment owned by DOT but operated by a contractor to the Virtustream cloud.

A key component of the project will be incorporating MicroTech’s portable databases during the transition. The MicroKloud solution includes the MicroPodd family of mobile, containerized data centers that are cloud-ready and conform to National Institute of Standards and Technology security controls. The deployment of these portable data centers will reduce down time, prevent risk of data loss and enhance security, MicroTech officials said.

Partnering with Virtustream expands MicroTech’s portfolio, adding more comprehensive cloud and virtualization solutions, including Federal Information Security Management Act certification required to protect sensitive information and assets from external threats, said Tony Jimenez, president and CEO of MicroTech.

Virtustream’s xStream software lets organizations securely build and manage a private cloud in the enterprise using existing hardware and virtualization. Or organizations can receive enterprise managed cloud services from the Virtustream cloud. Agencies can move an application, data center or entire IT environment to the cloud – managed or self-managed.

The xStream technology allows enterprises to run mission-critical legacy and Web-scale software as well as enterprise resource planning, custom relationship management and other databases in the cloud without rewriting existing applications, according to Virtustream officials.

If that claim is true, it might be welcome news to federal IT managers who want to move mission-critical applications to the cloud. Mission-critical, legacy applications such as ERP, financial management and procurement systems, need a major over-haul before they are ready for cloud migration, according to federal managers surveyed recently by MeriTalk.

Forty-six percent of executives surveyed said cloud-based mission-critical apps would improve their agency’s ability to achieve its mission, while 35 percent are unsure. But 45 percent said those applications need a lot of work first.

Respondents said the top benefit of moving mission-critical apps to the cloud is cost savings. Those surveyed estimate they could save 21 percent of their IT budget, or $16.6B annually, if they move just three mission-critical apps to the cloud, according to the report, Mission-Critical Cloud Ready for the Heavy Lift?

DOT officials want to reduce the departments’ IT footprint through database migration to virtualized and cloud environments, Virtustream officials said.

The move to the cloud will also help DOT meet Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative requirements, which encourage government organizations to embrace cloud computing in order to reduce their data center footprint, they said.

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.


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