Amazon Web Services on GSA Makes Procuring Cloud Easy, But Now What?
If you’ve seen our recent press release, you’ll know that I’m pretty happy about our inclusion of Amazon Web Services (AWS) on DLT’s GSA IT 70 schedule. There’s a lot of confusion swirling around the term cloud with permutations being presented by seemingly every IT vendor. Fortunately, AWS – the undisputed leader in Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – is now available to our public sector customers through GSA. This addition follows DLT’s recent successes in adding AWS to the NITAAC ECS III contract as well as our award for the National Cooperative Purchasing Alliance (NCPA) cloud and web services contract. DLT’s work is not done, though. Having AWS on these vehicles is just the first step. While it’s now very easy to procure AWS, there’s still a lot of educating we need to do to explain how these services should be procured. AWS is a platform. It should not be procured in the same manner as one would acquire a server or term software. AWS – like other true public cloud services – is based on a pay-per-use, monthly-in-arrears billing model. In other words, it’s like a pay-by-the-minute phone plan. If you talk for 90 minutes, the bill at the end of the month is for 90 minutes. If you talk for 900 minutes, the bill is for 900 minutes. The point here is that once your new AWS account is turned over to you – our public sector customer – you are fully in control of the services (and costs) that are incurred on a month-to-month basis. At first blush, this sounds reasonable until we get into the nitty gritty of the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) and fun stuff like the Antideficiency Act, whereby a government employee may not obligate funds or expenditures in excess or reapportionment. The immediate question at this point is, “Just what is the right acquisition strategy for a pay-per-use, monthly-in-arrears cloud service?” Simply put, just let us help you. If you are in more of a proof-of-concept phase or are performing market research, then DLT’s engineering team can help you identify the services you would like to experiment with and come up with the right numbers. If you’ve already been experimenting with AWS on your personal credit card or government issued P-Card and would like to graduate this to a more formal procurement, we can easily assist with that transition. If you are in a development and test phase, we can help you understand the services that are available, so your application can best take advantage of cloud-scale architectures. Finally, if you are looking to migrate your service or promote it into production, we can scope out the right amounts you will need for the desired period of performance. In addition to scoping out the correct services and their amounts, we’ll also help with the right procurement strategy to make it all come together. We don’t stop there. We understand that costs will fluctuate from month-to-month, so we will continue to work closely with your contract teams and technical leads to help you closely monitor spend and even help you find ways to reduce your costs. Finally, we at DLT understand the tremendous financial pressures that our public sector customers face. AWS is notorious for lowering their prices and we are committed to honoring those price drops with our customers. Visit our Cloud Advisory Group and Amazon Web Services pages for more cloud computing information.