Making the most of the cloud: A software-defined approach

By Colby Hochmuth at

Cloud computing has become ubiquitous for the federal IT workforce, as many if not most agencies have begun to move functions like email or data storage into the cloud. But approaching cloud as a software-defined environment is still a relatively new concept in government.

A software-defined approach holistically automates network, computing and storage capabilities and opens the lines of communication between them, according to Anil Karmel, founder and CEO of C2 Labs Inc. and former deputy chief technology officer at the National Nuclear Security Administration.

“Just because your email is in the cloud, doesn’t mean you’re taking a software-defined approach, because there’s no systems to automate. You’re just consuming the service,” Karmel said.

Essentially, software-defined environments break down the silos between network, storage and computing capabilities. And in times of tight budgets, agencies are beginning to adopt the software-defined approach to delivering IT services in order to automate and improve on the infrastructure they already have in place.

Jane Snowdon, IBM Federal’s chief innovation officer, said a software-defined environment is really about moving control from the hardware layer to the software layer of an IT system.

What’s that mean?

In traditional IT environments, there is a separate way of managing compute, network and storage capabilities, and most operations are done manually — a human being is reconfiguring storage and the area network.

Read more about how the Federal Government is approaching software-defined and the cloud at

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