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Government IT Case Studies with Cloud Volumes ONTAP

According to Gartner’s findings in “Understanding Cloud Adoption in Government,” organizations around the globe and across all verticals spend, on average, 20.4% of their IT budgets on cloud. At 20.6%, worldwide local government cloud spend aligns with this average, while national governments spend an above-average 22% on the cloud.

At the national government level, the top driver for public cloud adoption is strategic IT modernization. At the local and regional levels, governments are turning to cloud for more tactical objectives—to deliver services more innovatively and to save costs. Gartner expects government use of public cloud services to continue to grow worldwide by ~17% per year through 2021. In short, the cloud is as important for governments as it is for the world’s most important businesses.

In this blog post we look at some of the challenges faced by government IT in the public cloud and show how government agencies at all levels are leveraging Cloud Volumes ONTAP to accelerate public cloud adoption.

Government IT Cloud Challenges

The services provided by government agencies are often critical to the individuals and companies that use them. They also frequently involve the storage of sensitive personal information. Both their public and their internal end-users (i.e., their employees) expect government IT to be highly available and carefully protected. Government IT is also highly regulated and subject to a variety of compliance requirements related to data security, privacy, and disaster recovery.

In the transition from on-premises data centers to cloud, government IT departments must ensure that these expectations and regulations continue to be upheld. Their cloud infrastructures must be able to recover from failures or disasters in minimum time and with zero data loss. They must be able to retain large sets of data over long periods with high levels of data security and integrity. They must be able to prove compliance with all relevant regulations. As the spate of recent ransomware attacks aimed at government agencies show, if these precautions are not in place, agencies not only erode the public trust, they also come with extreme financial impacts.

On the budgetary side, government IT is being challenged to reduce storage and operating costs by leveraging the cloud’s on-demand service model. It is also important to mention that government IT is particularly sensitive to vendor lock-in and seeks provider-agnostic cloud deployments that support a feasible exit strategy.

Cloud Volumes ONTAP Success Stories in Government

To meet these challenges in the cloud, government agencies are turning to NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP to help deploy in the cloud. In this section we’ll cover the success stories of a number of government agencies using AWS, Azure, and hybrid deployments with NetApp’s trusted cloud data management platform.

Government R&D Lab Modernizes Data Center

The US Department of Energy runs an important R&D lab to drive innovation in the fields of energy efficiency, sustainable transportation, and renewable power.

The lab’s legacy backup systems were disk based. They were not only consuming a great deal of power, they were also becoming a performance bottleneck. The data center team sought a data storage and archiving solution that could better meet their current and future agility and scalability requirements. They migrated their backup systems to NetApp on-prem storage arrays and Cloud Volumes ONTAP for AWS to optimize their data storage and archiving processes.

The migration process itself was remarkably smooth and the hybrid deployment is bringing many benefits, including:

  • All systems now have flexible access to critical storage resources across a hybrid NetApp data fabric powered by data replication tools such as SnapMirror®.
  • Supports both NAS and SAN access to the entire organization storage pool.
  • Backups are managed easily from a single-pane of glass using NetApp Cloud Manager centralized data management control plane.
  • Backup time has been reduced from 12 hours to 40 minutes, and restores are accomplished in minutes thanks to rapid, point-in-time NetApp Snapshot™ technology.
  • Backup costs have been reduced dramatically from as high as $125/GB to pennies by leveraging NetApp’s built-in storage efficiency features.

State Agency Highly Accelerates Data Migration to the Cloud

This US state agency manages the unemployment benefits and reemployment services for tens of thousands of residents. Plans were in place to migrate all its operations to the cloud by 2021 as part of an overall infrastructure modernization strategy; however, they faced immediate storage and efficiency issues in the face of stringent data retention regulations.

The agency decided to jumpstart its modernization strategy by using Cloud Volumes ONTAP to efficiently and cost-effectively back up data to Amazon Web Services (AWS).

The benefits that it reaped from its Cloud Volumes ONTAP deployment included:

  • Rapid and intuitive setup using the centralized Cloud Manager console, with the data migration process underway within hours of deployment.
  • Efficient migration, using SnapMirror to move ~58 TB of data to the cloud within weeks despite a relatively restricted pipe to the cloud.
  • On-demand, automated and agile scalability via Cloud Manager, without IT staff having to expend time and money on equipment maintenance or procurement.
  • Robust operations that are not disrupted by unplanned failures.
  • Enhanced data protection compliance leveraging NetApp Snapshot™ technology and incremental backups are so efficient that they can be run nightly.

Read the full case study here.

Municipal Government IT Provider Implements Disaster Recovery in the Cloud

This IT provider to a large US East Coast city employs +1,000 people to oversee an operating budget of several hundred million dollars and serve +120 city agencies. The provider’s disaster recovery plan had to meet stringent RPO and RTO requirements for the massive volumes of data being generated daily by their customers.

The provider ran a successful evaluation of Cloud Volumes ONTAP as an enterprise-grade platform for its disaster recovery IT deployments on the cloud. After putting Cloud Volumes ONTAP into production, the provider realized the following benefits:

  • Smooth replication of 80-100TB of data within a few days using SnapMirror.
  • Significant savings from storage space freed up in the data center as well as reduced overall cost of infrastructure ownership, thanks to NetApp’s built-in storage efficiencies.
  • The already familiar ONTAP software data management user interface meant no need for additional staff training or new hires.
  • An optimal data storage management platform for a hybrid infrastructure.

Read the full case study here.

US International Development Agency Reduces Cloud Cost of Workloads

In compliance with US federal government cloud mandates, this international development agency, which supports thousands of employees worldwide, designed a comprehensive Enterprise Architecture for a gradual migration to the cloud.

They hired CGI, a major Federal systems integrator, to build out their cloud computing environment on AWS. With an exit strategy being a key agency requirement, CGI partnered with NetApp whose Cloud Volumes ONTAP data storage management solution is provider-agnostic. The key benefits that the NetApp ONTAP and Cloud Volumes ONTAP deployments brought to the agency were:

  • The migration of 900 workloads to the cloud within five months.
  • NetApp’s high-speed SnapMirror data replication tool ensured that the migration was completed without any downtime or outages.
  • Ongoing cloud data storage costs are reduced leveraging NetApp storage efficiencies such as data deduplication, compression, and thin provisioning.
  • Easy management of workloads and backups via NetApp Cloud Manager.

Read the full case study here.

File Sharing and VDI Solutions

This success story is about an MSP that delivers highly available and secure next-generation IT solutions to national security and intelligence agencies. They sought to completely modernize their existing on-prem infrastructure to achieve enhanced automation, reduced data storage footprint, and reduced administrative overhead.

The solution that was implemented combined Cloud Volumes ONTAP for Azure with NetApp on-prem storage arrays. The benefits for the customer and its end-users included:

DevOps Support for State Court System

The judicial branch of this major state government runs applications based on Oracle and on-prem SQL server databases. The engineering team sought a solution that would allow them to seamlessly develop and test these applications on the Azure cloud.

After deploying Cloud Volumes ONTAP for Azure they were able to:


Cloud Volumes ONTAP allows government IT customers and managed service providers to implement highly available, secure and cost-effective data storage management solutions that work seamlessly across hybrid and multicloud infrastructures. With its built-in data storage efficiencies and single-pane command and control via NetApp Cloud Manager, Cloud Volumes ONTAP supports government IT’s robust backup, archiving and disaster recovery requirements.

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Yifat Perry, Technical Content Manager

Technical Content Manager