October 3, 2023
(This interview was recorded at Monk’s BBQ in lovely downtown Purcellville, VA)
When the history of Covid and federal information technology is written, historians will talk about the amazing ability to transition to remote workers. As in all history, when time separates incidents, one gets a more nuanced perspective.
It is true that massive amounts of effort were expended. That kind of pressure resulted in over provisioning of systems. From today’s perspective, it is obvious that this transition was not as optimized for cost as it could have been.
It makes sense, the major cloud service providers vary in ways they handle data and invoice for usage. It is difficult enough to understand the subtleties of one cloud service provider, nonetheless three. The good news, years ago (prior to the cloud), federal leaders dealt with multiple vendors. In this cloud era, handling several vendors can act as a check on over provisioning, and distribute services so there is no need to worry about down time.
During the interview, Melissa Palmer reviews the sudden change that took place three years ago. She suggests that technology like Hashicorp’s Terraform can provide users visibility into the system and the ability to provision, secure, and connect in an effective manner.
In fact, Terraform is used widely in federal systems, but is pretty much unheralded. In an effort to remedy this situation, Melisssa outlines the formation of a federal Terraform User’s group that would provide support and inspiration for federal users.
If you enjoyed this article, you may want to listen to Ep. 92, Digital Transformation and Identity Management
John Gilroy appeared on National Public Radio in Washington DC for 25 years. He wrote 523 technology columns for The Washington Post. Currently, John is an award-winning lecturer at Georgetown University. Forgot to mention — he has recorded over 1,000 podcast interviews.