The IT world is shifting. New tech, new infrastructure, the new consumer. The modern age–what a time to be alive. The future is bright, but also highly variable, tinged with uncertainty. Someone working to make the uncertain, certain, is David McOmber, Executive Vice President of Public Sector & Federal Sales at QTS Realty Trust, Inc. for the past year. With more than 20 years of industry experience under his belt, McOmber previously served as IBM’s Vice President of Federal Civilian and Healthcare Agencies, responsible for the overall strategy, execution and sales management in the arenas of software, hardware, services and cloud. ExecutiveBiz caught up with Dave just before the Thanksgiving holidays to talk about QTS and the company’s forward-facing direction, gauging his opinion on how government agencies are handling the IT budget, effectively, or not so much.
“We are much more that a data center/colocation company…there are very few companies in our space that can match the breadth of our portfolio and expertise.”
EM: Where has QTS had is greatest success in delivering IT solutions to government agencies?
Dave McOmber: With over 60 ATO's from 37 different Federal agencies, QTS' past performance spans all parts of the Federal Government. Our greatest success comes when QTS has the opportunity to fully understand the mission, application, the security & compliance requirements of a Federal agency, Systems Integrator or OEM serving the market and matching these elements up to our vast set of capabilities. We are much more that a data center/colocation company. Our tailored solutions address all forms of IT solutions from public to private cloud deployments, colocation to hyperscale, and agency to OEM. With a rich set of managed services, there are very few companies in our space that can match the breadth of our portfolio and expertise.
There is quite a bit of focus within government agencies to migrate to the cloud.
What do you see as the biggest impediments slowing that process down?
Security concerns and complex legacy systems not designed for the cloud present some of the biggest challenges facing the migration from on-premises to 3rd party clouds and facilities. Fortunately, we have extensive competencies in designing, building and managing highly secure and compliant solutions for Federal agencies. In gathering the agency requirements, we work closely to understand the required policies and procedures. This helps ensure that the ATO is achieved and that the agency is comfortable that their data is safe and secure.
With legacy applications, the move to cloud often requires a hybrid approach based on the application requirements. Some parts are well suited for public clouds, other parts may need a private cloud or colocation solution. QTS is one of a handful of companies with the expertise to develop solutions addressing public, private, colocation, and even hyperscale-type cloud deployments.
The federal government spend an inordinate amount of their IT budget on maintaining “˜legacy systems.' What do you feel is the solution to getting government agencies off the older legacy systems and onto new current platforms?
Helping agencies migrate from legacy systems to the cloud is something that we are taking very seriously. One of the biggest challenges as outlined earlier is that the applications may not be ready to move to public clouds such as AWS or there may be huge data migration hurdles that make it difficult and unaffordable to make this move. QTS together with AWS recently announced CloudRamp. The solution brings the best of QTS hybrid IT solutions together with direct access to AWS' U.S. East and U.S. West FedRamp-approved locations. Agencies can deploy their legacy infrastructure into a QTS data center on month to month or annual contracts. This allows the agency to move out of their current facility while giving them time to migrate the applications to AWS at their own pace and without having to incur huge data transfer costs. Over time the physical hosting footprint goes down, while the public cloud consumption goes up. The flexibility of CloudRamp combined with QTS' hybrid offerings should enable agencies to meet many of their DCOI objectives while also allowing them the time necessary to rewrite many of the applications for the newer platforms.
Can you provide an example or two of where government agencies have migrated to the cloud (private or hybrid), and experienced cost savings and increased efficiency?
Cost is just one of the many variables we hear from our agencies and SI's in terms of moving to the cloud. Of more importance, many times are flexibility and scalability. If my environment grows, are you going to be able to scale to handle the changes? Additionally, any government agency coming to one of our newer facilities will achieve added efficiency simply because of the way the newer data centers are designed and operated. It is tough for any data center built 10-15 years ago to be able to operate as efficiently as some of the designs built in the last five years. With our new designs, almost everything in the data center provides telemetry information. The Internet of Things (IoT) has come to our space in a big way. As an agency, imagine the savings that can be achieved by being able to manage all of your deployments (public, private cloud & colocation deployments) all via a single portal interface. Our Service Delivery Platform allows agencies to view all of their IT resources both within QTS facilities and in the public clouds to ensure that resources are optimized both operationally and financially.
Where do you see QTS' future public-sector opportunities in the next 18-24 months?
We recently convened a Federal Advisory Board comprised of subject matter experts both from Government and Industry. Feedback after a recent meeting was that our areas of innovation (CloudRamp and SDP) are game changers. From an agency perspective, I would not be surprised if you saw QTS working closely with agencies from DHS, DoD, the IC and even members from the Research community. Today, our capabilities are strong and differentiated. As a company, we are always willing to embrace innovation and work to fill the requirements of our Federal government.
David McOmber has been Executive Vice President of Public Sector & Federal Sales at QTS Realty Trust, Inc. since July 25, 2016. He previously served as Public Sector Sales Leader for the State of New York as well as working on a Public Sector international assignment in Central and Eastern Europe. He was appointed to the Executive Board at the Northern Virginia Technology Council in 2015. Very active in his community, Dave donates his time to meaningful board positions at Loudoun Interfaith Relief (Stop Hunger) and All Ages Read Together (Preschool Readiness).