As the Fed Cloud Blog told you earlier, Qwest has opened its 17th nationwide data center for cloud-based services — its third one in Virginia.
Diana Gowan is senior vice president and general manager at Qwest Government Systems, Inc. and explained that the company basically did two things at once — opened this third cybercenter in Virginia and announced their first cloud computing infrastructure services out of their hosting centers.
She tells FCB why this is such a big deal for the company.
Diana Gowan: For us, it’s a sorely needed third center in the D.C. Area. Having another 100,000 square feet to offer customers is a great thing for us.
It enables us to launch, with very little effort, our cloud computing services, that is — infrastructure as a service. The reasons that customers are excited about that — on the commercial side, it’s because it’s because it’s fast time to market [and] with our government customers it’s a faster time to their applications and the development of them.
Government customers, as well as commercial customers, a lot of times would rather spend operating money than capital expense. That’s another reason to be doing infrastructure as a service.
I like to think of this kind of technology as offering sort of elastic capacity.
You pay for what you need when you need it, and if you don’t need it, then you don’t have it turned on and you’re not paying anything.
So, I think that’s why customers are really, really excited about cloud services. They don’t have a huge capital investment, and we do — but we have enough customers to spread that investment out over so we can do that. You have enough of them that you turn some up and some off.
You always have enough people, generally, that you’re doing business with at one time that it’s an economically viable deal for us.
FCB: Explain to us a little bit about the security involved. We know you can’t give away any secrets, but we do know, from covering this topic, a lot of people are concerned about the security involved in putting data [in the cloud] or operating in the cloud. Tell us a little bit about what Qwest is offering.
DG: In that regard, this new cybercenter that we’ve opened up is divided into vaults and pods that are equipped to be SCIFs — secure compartmented information facilities. So, from that perspective, if you had classified information, you could certainly store it and the servers there.
We have every kind of security arrangement you would expect over an MPLS or IP service — firewall management, intrusion detection, scrubbing and scanning — all of those kinds of things that we offer in a typical security package are available for our managed customers in a cloud computing environment.
Additionally, we have three different entrances, so that you can bring facilities in from various geographic locations so you have complete diversity. . . . There is, additionally, in this cybercenter physical security that is beyond what you see sometimes. We have separate, gated entrances . . . and most cybersecurity centers have cameras all around, and, of course, this one has that, but I think that the additional gated entrances and security passwords that you need to get in add an additional layer of physical security.
Then, once you’re into the facility, there are additional things that we look for to assure that only people that are authorized are in there.
Check back for more from Gowan later this week. We talk about how they’re prepared for power outages — especially during the threat of incidents like that recent blizzard we had!