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Cloud Computing

Overview

The Department of Health and Human Services Cloud Strategy addresses problems of cost-effectiveness, agility, efficiency and reuse by systematically applying the capabilities of Cloud Computing across the Department.  Specific interim goals and objectives embrace and build upon the Federal Cloud First policy in alignment with the mandates outlined in the Office of Management and Budget’s M-11-29, with particular reference to governance, improving access to commodity information technology through cloud services, improving coordinated program management and implementing cloud-specific well-aligned information security practices.

Long term objectives are Department-scoped ubiquitous, standard and agile cloud-based IT self-service, approached through iterative implementation of the key business and technical components illustrated in the figure below:

This diagram shows the relationship of the Cloud Computing initiative to the key business and technical components such as Stakeholder Communications and Guidance, Acquisition and Capital Planning, Prototypes and Pilots, Self-Service, Shared security processes, Metrics and measurements, and Governance.

HHS Cloud Strategy Components

Vision

The HHS Cloud Strategy includes complete lifecycle support for cloud processes, beginning with the alternative analysis that may lead to a cloud decision, extending to acquisition processes, and incrementally delivering an automated self-service cloud provisioning capability which will ultimately integrate with acquisition and capital planning processes to deliver a streamlined approach to information technology delivery that is:

 

  • Driven by a catalog of preferred, prequalified HHS cloud infrastructure, platform and software services and provisioned by a cloud broker onto public, private and community cloud provider resources constituting an HHS cloud ecosystem
  • Delivered to the Department, HHS Domains, STAFFDIVs and OPDIVs by means of an HHS Cloud Web Portal interface
  • Accessed by means of  Department-wide identity and permission management aligned with the HHS ICAM initiative
  • Fully and seamlessly integrated with HHS business processes, including acquisition, finance and budget formulation

 

Implementation

The strategy’s components and corresponding support projects will be implemented through the EPLC process.  The resulting cloud strategy services will in turn provide specific support to individual HHS project and program managers during various phases of their own project-level EPLC activities.  A project or program would, for example access stakeholder communications and guidance as part of their business case alternative analysis, on-demand services as part of procurement, etc.

 

Anticipated Direct Benefits

Economies of scale associated with larger cloud implementations and consolidated and aligned security practices have the potential to significantly drive down computing costs.  On-demand delivery enables a better match between agency needs and computing resources in four key ways:

 

  1. On-demand acquisition shortens procurement cycles and drives down procurement costs by replacing multiple and iterative per-project or program spot acquisitions with combined strategic service acquisitions and on-demand service provisioning.  Acquiring at scale and delivering on demand brings economies of scale to the procurement and agility to delivery.
  2. On-demand provisioning allows for agile development, testing and deployment of agency applications by delivering resources only when needed, and creating resources from customizable templates to eliminate duplicative effort. 
  3. On-demand delivery allows agencies to accommodate uneven computing loads on an as-needed basis, eliminating expenditures for resources that are largely idle.
  4. Standardization and consolidation reduces costs and improve agility at all levels of cloud