The rapid growth of big data puts many federal managers in a quandary. They need to manage the data well, and in many cases the best answer is the cloud. But they also have a lot of funding, time and resources invested in legacy IT architecture that they don’t wish to abandon.
“That is one thing that has slowed the movement to the cloud,” said Darrell West, vice president and director of governance studies at the Brookings Institution.
That, along with some other hurdles, is causing much head-scratching in CIO offices. An emerging hybrid model, however, might provide a solution. In this model, a collocation center connected to both a legacy data center and a public cloud. The collocation center, operated by a vendor, provides equipment, bandwidth, power, cooling and physical security.
Exactly how it works varies from case to case. An agency could, for example, replicate its data in the collocation center to subject it to cloud-based analysis tools while maintaining the original data set securely back at their own facility.
“The colo is like a pseudo cloud,” said Monjeet Singh, an emerging-technology expert with Booz Allen Hamilton. “They can start to shut down their data centers by moving their boxes into this colo environment. They maintain control of the machine, but someone else makes sure the lights are on and the fans are spinning.”
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