In 2013, NASA began the process of moving much of its data to the public cloud. NASA began performing cloud migrations as part of the US government’s Cloud First program. Although NASA primarily uses public and hybrid cloud to host 85% of the organization’s workloads, NASA relies on private cloud to make up the remaining 15%.
NASA notes that data which falls under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations is handled within the AWS private Govcloud. The remaining public cloud workloads are hosted within Amazon’s AWS infrastructure.
“The entire NASA engineering network was moved over, which was a pretty big infrastructure, as well as tiny little applications,” says Roopangi Kadakia, web services exec to NASA’s CIO.
NASA reports that nearly 160 apps were migrated to its public and hybrid clouds. NASA also says that 40 apps were removed from service, consolidated, or archived. In addition to the internal application transition, NASA also moved its public facing NASA.gov website to the AWS public cloud.
NASA’s website contains nearly a quarter million pages and 3TB of data. NASA.gov routinely hosts hundreds of thousands of streaming sessions for those watching the website for breaking astronomy news.
“If it wasn’t in the cloud, if we were moving into a data center, there’s no way we would have been able to do that,” says Roopangi Kadakia. “If you had to build that with actual hardware, the cost would have been crazy and it wouldn’t have met the timeline,” added Kadakia.
Kadakia goes on to mention that NASA staff anticipated the migration of NASA.gov to take nearly a year. With the help of InfoZen, NASA was able to get up and running in the public cloud within 13 weeks. InfoZen Chairman Raj Ananthanpillai says that other government IT decision makers have called him asking him how his company pulled off the migration in such a short amount of time.
NASA says that since it has moved to cloud, it’s overall operation and maintenance costs have dropped by 40%. NASA also says IT labor surrounding operation and maintenance has dropped 25%. Publications such as the Federal Times are calling NASA a “Flagship” example of how to do government public cloud right.