January 29th, 2019

Defense-Oriented Installation Migrates Critical Applications to Public Cloud

Defense-Oriented Academic Institution



Due to federal mandates to modernize technology across all branches of the government, agencies are shutting down many of their private data centers and transitioning mission critical applications to the more modern, flexible, and secure infrastructure offered by cloud technology. But moving to the cloud can be an uphill battle for agencies and installations that have data security concerns, resource limitations, skills gaps, budgetary challenges, and the growing burden of dealing with legacy IT.

A large defense installation faced all of these challenges. Their data center was being shut down, and they had to move 16 of their mission critical HR applications to the AWS public cloud. They needed a strategy and detailed plan on how to move these applications in a way that offered the level of security they were accustomed to in their private data center.

They also needed to prepare their applications to run in the new cloud environment without disrupting day-to-day operations. They knew where they needed to get to for mission success – all their applications running successfully on AWS public cloud – but didn’t know how to get there.


The Solution


Every good solution starts with a solid plan of action. Sirius Federal’s engineers spent time with the installation’s team to fully understand their needs, concerns, timeline, and applications that needed to be migrated. Through these discovery sessions, Sirius Federal recommended a phased approach using containers managed by Kubernetes, a portable, open-source platform that manages containerized workloads and services. The proposed solution was to utilize the enterprise capabilities of IBM Cloud Private. IBM Cloud Private – and everything in it – would then be moved to the AWS public cloud. Their private cloud would become part of the AWS public cloud, achieving their mission.

This bridge to the cloud solution minimizes risk by getting applications cloud ready in the safety and security of their own environment. Installation staff will also be able to get comfortable using these applications in a cloud environment while they were still securely behind their own firewalls.

Sirius Federal recommended using Kubernetes and containers as part of their transition for two reasons. First, moving the applications to containers ensured they were modernized to run in the cloud environment, mitigating any risks of placing them directly in the public cloud and something not working, hindering productivity. Second, containers running in Kubernetes offer tremendous flexibility and portability when it comes time to move their applications to the AWS public cloud or any other Cloud Service Provider. At that point it is a simple lift and shift – IBM Cloud Private sitting in the installation’s environment is lifted and moved to the AWS public cloud in minimal time.
One of the other benefits of using containers is that it offers the installation future flexibility in working with other public cloud partners. Applications in containers can run in any public cloud solution.


The Outcome


Sirius Federal’s engineers worked onsite with their IT staff building requirements to prepare applications for containers. Many of the applications were highly customized and needed to be modernized to work within the cloud.

Moving from a private data center to the cloud is more than a technology shift, it is a cultural shift. By utilizing the IBM Cloud Private solution with containers to transition to the AWS public cloud, not only were we able to overcome technology concerns, we were able to overcome the uncertainties associated with this change. Staff were able to use the updated applications within the private cloud environment, offering a safe testing ground for them to get comfortable with the technology.

With their applications modernized and in containers on a cloud solution sitting in their own environment, this installation is ready to move to the AWS public cloud when they are ready. The installation estimates this solution will save $2M over the next year.