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  #221  
Old 19 November 2018, 14:20
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Funny, I had this discussion with DEA on Friday morning. Apparently their leadership is adamantly opposed to them doing much of anything at all in the cloud. They are afraid of not being able to control physical access to the servers.
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  #222  
Old 19 November 2018, 22:03
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Originally Posted by DirtyDog0311 View Post
I just find it crazy an agency such as the CIA uses a third party for their cloud stuff. Other, less sensitive agencies I can see. But the main alphabets? Crazy.
OK, so I guess I will go into a discussion on the state of the IT workforce...

Government managed IT projects are a shitshow. There are still some pockets of competency but generally speaking, large scale IT operations are a real challenge for the government.

Providers like Google or Amazon are able to wrap a profit margin around the entire infrastructure provisioning process and present it at less cost than the government doing it for themselves. So, rather than having 10 different contractors each with a marginally competent workforce working against each other, you get a unit cost for a server platform with the accompanying network infrastructure and life-cycle sustainment that scales up or down with your project. And, you can get it at lots of different levels, that is, "bare metal" virtual servers, commodity server platforms (Windows Server 2016, Linux, some other UX variants), and/or complete software services (Office 365, email services, collaboration suites, and other common software services).

In the cloud vernacular this is Infrastructure, Platform, Software, whatever, "as a service".

Plus, you get the innovation behind these infrastructure warehouses where vendors are clustering cheap commodity hardware in custom configurations to provide cheap (but reliable) computing. Google "Google datacenter" and take a look at what they've got. It's pretty impressive. Regardless of what you think about Google the evil company, they are doing some really innovative work, as are Amazon and some of the other IT vendors.

I know a lot of that sounds like a marketing slick but at the end of the day it has the potential to greatly reduce cost. In a well managed infrastructure outsourcing you can bring a project from inception to full capability at a fraction of the lifecycle cost you would see in a typical government (and in some cases - commercial) IT project.

My opinion is that the government has only just begun to realize the potential of the "cloud" computing model.

To your point of sensitivity - the only key difference in the IT infrastructure in most cases is where it sits. The commodity IT inside the CIA headquarters is the same as commodity IT outside the building. And that point is the current rock that most organizations are tripping over on their way to cloud computing. Once they begin to understand they can get the same level of security in an outsourced infrastructure environment (cloud) they will start to realize the monetary benefits of shifting their IT operations offsite.
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  #223  
Old 19 November 2018, 22:14
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Originally Posted by cedsall View Post
Once they begin to understand they can get the same level of security in an outsourced infrastructure environment (cloud) they will start to realize the monetary benefits of shifting their IT operations offsite.
But can they? I canít help but think that some anonymous IT guy in the cloud is not going to have the same level of concern about gov data as me, a sworn govt employee, or my contractor staff.

I mean if I go to cloud and MS or Amazon fucks up my data whatís going to happen? Me rebuild my server farm and infrastructure? No.

Iíll take their sorry in the ass because at that point I have no further options.

Does that mean the dot gov doesnít fuck up? No. Sure it does. But I can have contractors fired right there or provide incentive for them to be fired.

Iím not a convert... yet. I donít like the anonymity of cloud services. I like looking people in the eye and knowing whose responsible, not being managed by some account manager.
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  #224  
Old 19 November 2018, 22:16
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Originally Posted by Sharky View Post
Funny, I had this discussion with DEA on Friday morning. Apparently their leadership is adamantly opposed to them doing much of anything at all in the cloud. They are afraid of not being able to control physical access to the servers.
It's an interesting thought but I'd counter with this - in the largest DoD breach of healthcare data to date the systems themselves were physically located in DoD hospitals. It was Carl Cocoapuff system admin who had a full set of backup tapes stolen from his car while he was stuffing his face at a McDonalds (or whatever). I know that's an anecdote but it points towards the idea that physical access or location isn't the panacea.

BTW, as an interesting aside, DoD then went ahead and awarded their new $4.3B EHR acquisition to the the team that included that same contractor as the systems integrator (Leidos).
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  #225  
Old 19 November 2018, 22:32
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But can they? I can’t help but think that some anonymous IT guy in the cloud is not going to have the same level of concern about gov data as me, a sworn govt employee, or my contractor staff.

I mean if I go to cloud and MS or Amazon fucks up my data what’s going to happen? Me rebuild my server farm and infrastructure? No.

I’ll take their sorry in the ass because at that point I have no further options.

Does that mean the dot gov doesn’t fuck up? No. Sure it does. But I can have contractors fired right there or provide incentive for them to be fired.

I’m not a convert... yet. I don’t like the anonymity of cloud services. I like looking people in the eye and knowing whose responsible, not being managed by some account manager.
See my reply to Sharky.

But this goes to my point about the IT workforce. While your current set of contractors are close at hand, they are not as skilled as the anonymous IT guy in the cloud and (probably) cost you twice as much.

It's really an economic argument and your post is a reflection of discussions that are going on at the top levels of DoD. There are folks who would prefer to keep DoD data within DoD (physically) and there are folks who would prefer to hand IT operations over to industry and just let them do their job. I've seen these two factions grappling with one another as we worked through the hosting strategies for the new EHR. Both sides have a good argument but at the end of the day, lifecycle costs for DoD based systems are tremendous and growing, and both sides understand that those costs are going to have to come down, somehow.

Last edited by cedsall; 19 November 2018 at 22:34. Reason: Clarity
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  #226  
Old 19 November 2018, 22:42
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Originally Posted by cedsall View Post
See my reply to Sharky.

But this goes to my point about the IT workforce. While your current set of contractors are close at hand, they are not as skilled as the anonymous IT guy in the cloud and (probably) cost you twice as much.

It's really an economic argument and your post is a reflection of discussions that are going on at the top levels of DoD. There are folks who would prefer to keep DoD data within DoD (physically) and there are folks who would prefer to hand IT operations over to industry and just let them do their job. I've seen these two factions grappling with one another as we worked through the hosting strategies for the new EHR. Both sides have a good argument but at the end of the day, lifecycle costs for DoD based systems are tremendous and growing, and both sides understand that those costs are going to have to come down, somehow.
Generally speaking we have a pretty skilled bunch.

But it comes down accountability: once all our data is in the cloud and let’s say it’s mismanaged or breeched, who is the taxpayer mad at? Amazon or DoD?

DoD.

And what’s the recourse?

There is none. Once they have the data and we dismantle our farms that’s it, there’s never any going back. Ever.

I agree on costs but that’s on the gov and holding the right people accountable for managing them and CORs and others accountable for firing the shit out of poorly performing contractors.

I just told my prime PM if he had another meeting with more than three people in it for the next month he’d need a new job. He was letting God and everyone attend and bill a project. Still under budget but it was the principal of the thing. So now he has to learn to do more with less and actually manage.

Hell I’ve thrown fits over $7,000 on a $3,000,000 project. If more dot gov types were held responsible budgets would come down.

And don’t get me started on bloated PEMP scoring for contractors...
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Last edited by KidA; 19 November 2018 at 22:49.
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  #227  
Old 19 November 2018, 23:01
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Originally Posted by DirtyDog0311 View Post
I just find it crazy an agency such as the CIA uses a third party for their cloud stuff. Other, less sensitive agencies I can see. But the main alphabets? Crazy.
You of all people should know that the cloud is just a huge conspiracy to get everyone to put their shit on government controlled servers so they can more easily spy on you.
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  #228  
Old 20 November 2018, 09:02
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Those AWS facilities are no joke in terms of security.

Related to data security, it's not that crazy as long as the data is encrypted in transit and while sitting on servers. I could create a whole thread about this, but it would get boring very quickly. The short of the long is that with the proper implementation, the data is perfectly secure.

A good analogy to think of is when you have those classified briefings, or when you use SIPR. That data is traversing far more commercial lines than dedicated secret-squirrel ones. It's riding along the same paths as folks surfing SOCNET, checking Gmail, or looking at porn. The difference is how it is transported and ultimately stored.
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  #229  
Old 20 November 2018, 12:12
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Well, color me not surprised. Also, I donít doubt that Amazonís play in NYC is to take a piece of the financial services market.

Link here.

Quote:
As Amazon.com Inc. moves forward with setting up its second headquarters, analysts have pointed out that a big footprint in the Washington, D.C., area could help the company secure a massive Pentagon contract.

A new HQ2 site in the northern Virginia suburb of Crystal City, Va., ďcould only help the chances of Bezos & Co. landing JEDI,Ē said Wedbush Securities analysts in a Nov. 9 note, ahead of Amazonís Nov. 13 announcement on the move. Thatís a reference to the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract, which could be worth as much as $10 billion over a decade and is expected to be awarded in April.
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  #230  
Old 20 November 2018, 17:08
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Those AWS facilities are no joke in terms of security.
I've done fire protection work for a couple of big cloud facilities in the Chicago area and they do take their security seriously.
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  #231  
Old 20 November 2018, 17:38
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Originally Posted by KidA View Post
Generally speaking we have a pretty skilled bunch.

But it comes down accountability: once all our data is in the cloud and letís say itís mismanaged or breeched, who is the taxpayer mad at? Amazon or DoD?

DoD.

And whatís the recourse?

There is none. Once they have the data and we dismantle our farms thatís it, thereís never any going back. Ever.

I agree on costs but thatís on the gov and holding the right people accountable for managing them and CORs and others accountable for firing the shit out of poorly performing contractors.

I just told my prime PM if he had another meeting with more than three people in it for the next month heíd need a new job. He was letting God and everyone attend and bill a project. Still under budget but it was the principal of the thing. So now he has to learn to do more with less and actually manage.

Hell Iíve thrown fits over $7,000 on a $3,000,000 project. If more dot gov types were held responsible budgets would come down.

And donít get me started on bloated PEMP scoring for contractors...
So perhaps you have one of those competent niches I spoke of earlier. But, next time you're in your data center, take a look around. It you're seeing Cisco, Dell, HP, or another IT hardware manufacturer's equipment using VMWare and Microsoft software you are paying too much for your infrastructure. Google is mounting cheap motherboards, memory, drives and other commodity hardware on frames and using custom software to cluster it all together and then present it as virtual machines to customers.

It doesn't make any difference how good your IT staff is or how good a discount you're getting from the vendors, they can't compete with that.

It's not about how much you can save from your budgeted costs - it's about reducing the total cost of infrastructure.

Boring story - A few years back I had an employee come to me with an idea to build storage arrays from commodity hardware using FreeNAS. The technical solution was solid but as I told him then - the problem is that as an enterprise we don't have the technical acumen to sustain an open source storage solution. With 150 primary sites around the world we would simply consume the dollars we saved in hardware hiring highly competent system admins who could keep it all up and running.

VMWare? It's a lightly customized UX kernel creating a chroot jail in which it runs a guest operating system. You're not paying for the UX underpinnings, you're paying for the custom GUI that VMWare wrapped around some simple (YMMV) UX capabilities.

That's the problem the cloud model solves. They do that innovation, wrap some solid IT management around it and then sell it as a service.

You just have to get past that "where is my data?" discussion.

BTW, none of what I've said excuses anyone from due diligence. But to the point of my anecdotal story on backup tapes earlier in this thread, most government managers don't understand the day to day workings of their IT operations anyway. You're trading one risk for another. You manage the risk and move forward.

Biggest problem with all this (and a point I've made before) - no manager ever got promoted for spending less money. There's no incentive to save money so we get arguments that look like IT risk arguments but are actually just managers spending more because they can.
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  #232  
Old 17 December 2018, 15:41
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Google announces $1 billion expansion in New York City

Following Amazon and Appleís announcement, Google makes a play on expanding its footprint in NYC. This is not happenstance or coincidence and will put additional pressure on second tier tech companies to retain top shelf talent.

Link here.

Quote:
Google announced Monday that it will spend more than $1 billion to build a new campus in New York City, a major expansion that could add more than 7,000 jobs to the area.

The announcement comes just days after Apple said it will build new offices across the United States, a plan that includes adding hundreds of jobs in New York. Amazon.com said earlier that it will establish another headquarters in Queens, pulling in tens of thousands of highly paid workers. (Amazon chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos owns The Washington Post.)
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  #233  
Old 8 February 2019, 14:04
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It looks like Bezos is having second thoughts about locating to NYC. I know AOC has been outspoken about the tax breaks theyíre set to receive.

Quote:
ďThe question is whether itís worth it if the politicians in New York donít want the project, especially with how people in Virginia and Nashville have been so welcoming,Ē one person familiar with the companyís plans told the Post.
https://www.foxnews.com/tech/amazon-reconsidering-ny-hq-after-fierce-opposition-report
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  #234  
Old 9 February 2019, 06:04
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Originally Posted by cedsall View Post
BTW, as an interesting aside, DoD then went ahead and awarded their new $4.3B EHR acquisition to the the team that included that same contractor as the systems integrator (Leidos).
Ah, Leidos. Good company by all accounts. They have multiple secret-squirrel contracts in Australia as well. Including being "embarrassed" to find a Chinese company renting floors above some of their highly classified sites.

All innocent and above-board, I'm sure.

What I find strange is people with Govt contracting backgrounds, being surprised that the Govt contracts out some/most/all of its IT requirements.
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  #235  
Old 14 February 2019, 13:04
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Well, whaddaya know, Amazon pulls out of NY deal due to "growing opposition from local politicians". So, Nashville and NOVA will get all those jobs. Nice job NY.
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  #236  
Old 14 February 2019, 13:10
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While I enjoy watching NY continue to spiral due to their choice in elected strategy. I can’t blame any city/state for declining to offer multi millions in tax dodges to lure business. It’s a policy we all need to get away from and the only item I can concede where AOC and her ilk are close to being correct.
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  #237  
Old 14 February 2019, 13:28
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In local media there was a snap poll, asking if, now that Amazon is pulling out of NY, NC should try again to recruit them, the response was 95% no to 5% yes. Most people in NC rejoiced when Amazon dropped NC from their list.
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  #238  
Old 14 February 2019, 14:20
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Ah, Leidos. Good company by all accounts.
Formerly SAIC.... (The current SAIC, is actually a different company after the split).
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  #239  
Old 14 February 2019, 14:22
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Well, whaddaya know, Amazon pulls out of NY deal due to "growing opposition from local politicians". So, Nashville and NOVA will get all those jobs. Nice job NY.
NY Governor: Florida, with their low taxes, are stealing our tax paying citizens.

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  #240  
Old 14 February 2019, 14:51
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Originally Posted by DevilDawg View Post
While I enjoy watching NY continue to spiral due to their choice in elected strategy. I canít blame any city/state for declining to offer multi millions in tax dodges to lure business. Itís a policy we all need to get away from and the only item I can concede where AOC and her ilk are close to being correct.

It is essentially a reverse bribe. Rather than pay you money to do something illegal or unethical, I am simply going to not require you to pay me money to do something illegal or unethical.
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