Which cloud model will Interior’s National Business Center use?

Listen to the second half of FCB’s interview with Doug Bourgeois

As promised, today we bring you the second half of our interview with Doug Bourgeois, Director of the Interior Department’s National Business Center.

Federal Cloud Blog: So, DISA has their cloud computing model that’s a private cloud, are you looking at the same thing? Is it going to be an Interior Department/NBC only cloud that’s government only, or are you looking at a hybrid model?


Doug Bourgeois, Director, National Business Council, Interior Dept.

Doug Bourgeois: There are multiple cloud models out there. We believe we’ll be participating in more than one model at a time. Right now, our focus is a federal private cloud. I see the day, not too far in the distance where the shared service centers kind of connect their clouds together and end up in a community cloud for shared services. And I definitely see — and it may happen before the community cloud — I see a hybrid cloud evolving. We’re having discussions with a lot of cloud service providers out there who are interested in potential partnership arrangements, and so we’re just trying to determine what would be the model that our clients would best benefit from. That’s still an analysis underway at this point.

FCB: We know you can’t mention specific discussions with providers, but when you talk about a hybrid cloud, we’re talking about maybe a private cloud in a public cloud where it’s partitioned off and secured?

DB: That’s exactly right. There are some elements of our cloud services that we have a inter-connection, if you will, with a public cloud provider for information or services that might be completely public information — and then keep running in our private cloud the PII kind of information and things like that that shared services has to pay extra attention to and meet different security requirements with.

FCB: When you look a year or two — or even five years out — where do you see your cloud? Do you see it as specific around shared services or something broader?

DB: I see our services being a little broader than shared services because of two primary areas.

First is because the value that our clients derive from our shared services today is through the business applications that they use in our shared services center. So, our primary focus has been software-as-a-service enabling those business applications. So, two or three years from now, we’ll have many, many business applications software-as-a-service enabled in the cloud in areas like HR, financial management and procurement applications and things of that nature.

The second area is quite a bit broader because we are a shared service center that manages Privacy Act information and personally identifiable information, we focus on the security levels that are appropriate to that type of information. So, we see a niche in the infrastructure-as-a-service area for anybody’s mission application — any other agency’s mission application — doing whatever it needs to do that has a FIPS 199 moderate security requirement associated with it. It’s not high security, but it’s not public information either. It’s in between at the moderate level. We see any application that has that security requirement fitting very, very well in our infrastructure service.

FCB: Obviously, this is going to be a fee-for-service — you guys are a fee-for-service organization — have you worked out yet what that cost would be? Have you started down that path?

DB: We definitely have. We’re still doing analysis because the services are being deployed in a phased, incremental fashion. For example, on our infrastructure-as-a-service development test environment that is in testing now, we’ve done some very through analyses of the pricing model in comparison to some public offerings that are similar.

Now, our services aren’t exactly the same as the public offerings, either. As I pointed out, there’s a bit higher level of security [with our applications]. We do manage the infrastructure still, so there’s a managed services element associated with it. But our pricing, we believe, is appropriate for the additional services that we have to offer in comparison. So, we’re seeing a potential price differential somewhere between 10 to 20 percent from our services to what’s available now in a public cloud.

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