Back in December of 2017, the President passed the Modernizing Government Technology (MGT) Act as an amendment to the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act; compelling government agencies to reduce wasteful IT spending, improve cyber defenses, and most relevantly, incentivize migration to the cloud. And while the increased adoption of public cloud among federal agencies over recent years has been surprising to some – given the prevalent concerns around security and control – this mandate is forecasted to only accelerate government spending in this area. In fact, Gartner anticipates government cloud spending to increase 17.1% annually through 2021, with agencies already spending around 22% of their IT budgets on cloud resources (both public and private).
Fortunately for federal agencies looking at migrating to Microsoft Azure, it has numerous physically isolated regions of its cloud platform dedicated to making up its Azure Government service. These secluded regions afford government users heightened security and control for their apps and data while meeting crucial compliance requirements including those stipulated by FedRAMP, HIPAA and DoD.
Now this is all well and good, but there is still the task of actually transitioning workloads to the cloud itself along with any critical services those apps rely on. Unsurprisingly this is often a fairly tedious, time-consuming, and sometimes costly assignment requiring considerable planning, testing, and development. The process can be heavily sped up and simplified for F5 customers however, as for some time now our industry-leading application delivery and security services have been available for use in the Azure Government region via the BIG-IP Virtual Edition (VE). These virtual editions offer complete feature parity with existing hardware (or software) already deployed in on-premises data centers, allowing for fast replication of fully configured services and policies to front newly migrated apps in this environment.
To ease cloud migration further, F5 is today announcing support for Pay-As-You-Go billing in the Azure Government region (available directly through the Azure Government Marketplace). Perfect for development and test purposes, these PAYG instances provide true cloud-native operational flexibility by enabling seamless spin-up and spin-down on demand with no long-term commitments or contracts.
And make no mistake, this new licensing model is not merely suited to existing F5 customers. As a non-F5 government customer evaluating different vADC providers in your move to the cloud, these instances empower you to fully ‘try before you buy’ beyond a BIG-IP VE free trial. In doing so, you can experience and experiment with the BIG-IP VE and its comprehensive array of services in your test or production environments for extended periods; allowing you to make a more informed decision on any longstanding purchases.
Alternatively, perhaps your agency is planning on deploying a series of applications to Azure Government in support of a short-term project that will involve processing highly sensitive data? It would probably be a good idea to front those apps with a robust web application firewall (WAF) and intelligent traffic management services to ensure its protection and availability, right? But as a temporary project lasting only a handful of months maybe you couldn’t justify the long-term investment of a perpetual BIG-IP VE license… It’s this kind of scenario that enables you to truly realize the value in this OPEX-based consumption model.
At present, F5’s Good, Better, and Best offerings (which span the breadth of all core F5 application services) along with F5’s new Advanced WAF are available in Virtual Edition form within the Azure Government Marketplace. Depending on individual business requirements, there are also three sizing options available for each offer: 25Mbps, 200Mbps, and 1Gbps.
And lastly, if you’re attending Microsoft Inspire this week, please do stop by for a chat at our booth (#222).