CloudCheckr, one of several vendors that monitor Amazon Web Services usage for customers, says it is the only one of those rivals that can do that job for Amazon’s restricted GovCloud. GovCloud is a separate U.S. region set up for state, local and federal agencies that must meet special requirements for cloud use.
Tools like CloudCheckr’s service can help in the government procurement process — a big deal given the U.S. government’s cloud-first mandate, which requires agencies not only to deploy a different sort of technology, but to readjust how they think about buying and paying for services.
“They have a hard time dealing with cloud costs because they’re so used to fixed-cost contracts,” said James Hirmas, COO of JHC Technology, an AWS consultancy specializing in government work and a prime contractor for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). JHC worked with CloudCheckr to integrate its service with GovCloud.
With that integration, a customer can see if it’s underutilizing compute instances for a certain task and, if so, advise that the work be moved to a smaller, cheaper instance, for example. CloudCheckr performs compliance checks and best practice analysis for GovCloud environments.
Aaron Klein, COO of Rochester, N.Y.-based CloudCheckr, said the GovCloud service does 90 percent of what it does on the commercial side. “GovCloud is architected differently from other AWS regions,” he said. “First you need access, then you need to delve in and adapt what you have to work best in that environment.” He also pointed out that not all of AWS’s own services are running on GovCloud so far.
Since GovCloud is compliant with the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) – only U.S.-born personnel can work there or access it. Its help desk is U.S.-only. Background checks are also required.
Amazon itself is clearly gearing up for more government work, having received its FedRAMP certification early this week. That accreditation should make it easier for more government entities to use GovCloud (or other U.S. regions depending on the workload) without having to go through a lot of redundant testing and paperwork.