Can you help Social Security manage its multi-cloud environment?

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The Social Security Administration is looking to industry for commercial tools to help manage its hybrid, multi-cloud environment.

SSA said in a request for information Friday that it “requires a suite of COTS tools, including implementation and integration support, for the enhanced automated management of its diverse cloud hosting environments.”

Currently, the agency works with Amazon Web Services to host some services, and it’s also “building an on-premises cloud using Red Hat OpenStack Platform and will soon expand its cloud offerings to include Microsoft Azure,” the RFI says. SSA may also add other cloud service providers to its environment, it says.

“Due to the complexities of managing systems administration, governance, provisioning, monitoring, metering, workload evaluations and many other functions in a multi-cloud environment, the selection of a suite of tools to assist in the management of the environment will be critical to the success of SSA’s overall Cloud strategy,” the solicitation explains.

The ideal management platform, per SSA’s requirements, should be a software-as-a-service tool hosted and managed on-premises, allow SSA to manage a hybrid cloud platform, enable users to request and manage cloud services on their own, and provide functions to automate management, including monitoring and discovery, configuration management, analytics, orchestration and automation, and more.

SSA’s pursuit of such a tool is in line with it’s greater cloud strategy. As the agency described last summer, rather than pushing blindly into it, it is trying to be “cloud smart,” much like the administration’s recent Cloud Smart policy.

“What that means is consider cloud first but be aware of where things run the best,” said John Foertschbeck, senior adviser in SSA’s Office of Systems Operations and Hardware Engineering, the office that issued this RFI. “So just because we’re considering cloud first doesn’t mean that’s where it goes. We want to make sure that we look holistically at applications and make the best determination for where they fit in our environment.”

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Cloud Smart, COTS, hybrid cloud, multi-cloud, Social Security Administration