Federal agencies are generating an unprecedented amount of data. In fact, as a society, we generate an estimated 2.5 quintillion bytes of data each day. As a result, one of the key issues facing agencies as they become fully immersed in the age of big data is how to create storage environments that are flexible enough to allow data to be stored, analyzed, and retrieved on a completely different schedule from which it was generated. This is where cloud-based data tools become vital for agencies looking to leverage the full impact of their data in every aspect of the mission – from user experience to the incorporation of data into meeting the mission.

As Kirk Kern, U.S. Public Sector Cloud Chief Technology Officer at NetApp shared, “[s]pinning up compute resources in the cloud has a direct analogy to the physical clouds. The clouds amorphously change. They’re always different—they’re there one day and gone the next—and that has some similarities to the way services in the IT clouds operate. Applications must be able to start, stop, restart or scale their resource consumption to accommodate the dynamic nature of clouds.”

By extension, back-up and recovery are resulting issues given the large amount of sensitive data federal agencies maintain. For Rich Faris, SteelStore director of product management at NetApp, “[t]ypical back-up flows include magnetic tapes, which had to be off-sited and taken to a secure location in case of disasters. The tapes often failed, so you’d bring back a tape to recover and potentially have data loss. And then there’s a lot of cost management of tapes. Since they’re physical objects, they have to be labeled, boxed up and taken off site.”

In today’s tech heavy, data rich workspace, it is easy to see how a tape-based recovery system is no longer viable due to potential loss, the sheer volume of data, and human error in recovery procedures. Faris goes on to say, “Often people using tapes don’t even encrypt them. You’ll see in the newspaper a tape falling off a truck, sitting there on the pavement. If that has all of your social security numbers or credit card information on it, it hurts all of us if it gets out.”

To provide guidance and clarity into some of these issues, NetApp recently released an e-book to help government IT teams develop best practices for their agencies in the realm of data storage, retrieval, and backup.

Among many challenges addressed, the e-book directly speaks to the issues of data stewardship, sharing:

By stitching together the resources of multiple clouds, agencies can leverage their elastic and dynamic computing resources, while still maintaining complete control over where and how data is moved.

In the e-book, readers will learn more about how to deploy testing, leverage public cloud options and govern multiple clouds, while also learning how to modernize back-up and recovery plans.

To download a free copy of Data Driven Government: click here.