Having an on-premises data center and a cloud computing environment – otherwise referred to as hybrid cloud – is the norm for many Federal agencies and industry partners, and an official from the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) predicts a “more deliberate usage of hybrid cloud” in the next few years.

At FCW’s Cloud Summit, Sharon Woods, the acting director of DISA’s new Hosting and Compute Center (HaCC), said many in industry and government often turn to a hybrid cloud because of an older application, or oftentimes it’s a choice driven by the presence of sensitive data.

With its growing popularity, Woods predicts in the next few years that “there will be more deliberate usage of hybrid cloud, and meaning, with that commercial cloud.”

“Right now, I think a lot of times, it’s a byproduct of ‘I happen to have applications and data centers and I’m trying really hard to get into commercial cloud,’” Woods said. “I think that there will be more deliberate usage. And the HaCC really wants to play a role in that of orchestrating these things.”

Woods explained that the agency is now offering a hybrid cloud solution called “Stratus,” which it runs out of its data centers. However, she said the solution is “nearing as much as possible commercial cloud capabilities.”

“Stratus took some foundational work that we had already done within the data center, since it is an on-prem running out of the data center environment,” Woods said. “But we’ve been really aggressive about layering on those characteristics that you associate with cloud… elasticity, self-service, automation.”

“We feel really good about Stratus,” Woods added.

The acting director of HaCC also predicts that the issue around data movement will only become bigger going forward, as agencies and organizations have their data in “more and more environments.”

Security will play a big piece in that data movement as well, Woods said, noting that data plays the biggest role in hybrid cloud environments.

“The quicker we get into the environments, the more the data is truly going to be first and foremost,” Woods said. “I think we talk about that a lot, but a lot of mission owners don’t have the basic infrastructure in place where they’re able to orchestrate across it. But the target is data – that’s what actually matters for the mission.”

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.