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Cloud Services FAQs

Frequently asked questions about cloud services

Financial

How will agencies be billed for this service?
Agencies will be billed using the normal invoicing process. Cloud services will appear on their invoice just like any other service.

What is the rate structure for cloud services?
There are two components to the rate structure. The first component is a fixed month rate that is similar in concept to the type of server rates agencies currently get charged. This rate is charged at the instance level. There is also a one-time set up fee. The second component is a consumption based rate. Charges from AWS, Azure, and OCI will receive a mark-up from VITA and passed on to the customer.

If a question or dispute regarding invoicing occurs, how does an agency address it?
The same process currently used for addressing invoice questions and disputes should be used for cloud services.

When will charges begin to show on agency bills?
There are defined billing triggers that outline when charges show up on a customer bill. Billing triggers are defined by Unisys and documented/implemented by our multisupplier integrator, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC). SAIC and Unisys will collaborate to determine and document billing triggers so SACM can implement them. Without these triggers, we can't invoice or bill out charges.

If an agency is on a budget program, who assumes the risk if the costs are more than they had projected?
VITA finance will work with the Department of Planning Budget (DPB) to align and set expectations around appropriations.

With the consumption based option, if the server is not ready, does the agency get charged based on when the vendor says it's ready or when the agency said that it should be ready?
There will be billing triggers in place. All customer charges are based on acceptance from the supplier.

Security

Has VITA looked at cyberliability insurance for data in the cloud?
VITA provides cyberliability insurance for data in the commonwealth data center; Cloud data will be handled in a similar way.

Will the agency have access to manage resources within the portal?
Agencies will have some restrictions on rights within their cloud environment as they do within the enterprise private cloud.

Is sensitive data allowed in the cloud?
Yes.

As stated in the Hosted Environment Information Security Standard (SEC 525-03.1), externally provided services and safeguards used in the electronic transmission or storing of commonwealth and/or citizen data must be risk assessed and security and interoperability must be maintained across all relevant state/national services.

The Code of Virginia § 2-2.2009 states the requirement: "To provide for the security of state government electronic information from unauthorized uses, intrusions or other security threats, the CIO shall direct the development of policies, standards, and guidelines for assessing security risks, determining the appropriate security measures and performing security audits of government electronic information. …" Non-compliance would be in direct violation of the associated Code of Virginia.

Why would current privileges change when I migrate to the cloud?
Current privileges are aligned to future capabilities in the cloud environments.

Monitoring workloads

Will I be able to monitor my workload with usage alerts?
VITA is currently working to implement this functionality.

Is VITA offering real-time operation monitoring?
VITA is considering the need for this service.

How will spikes in data usage be managed?
Autoscaling of cloud storage will be part of the service offerings.

Is there any way to monitor my cloud usage with the consumable option?
Yes, by setting thresholds in data consumption.

Will agencies be able to provide info on the peak times and request recommendations for optimization?
VITA is considering the need for this service.

Will there be continuous monitoring once agencies have moved their data to the cloud?
Yes, there are continuous improvements being made to the services offered, which could lower costs. Recommendations for modifying your service option will be made to agencies periodically.

Business Readiness

Will there be a development and operations (DevOps) information session?
Yes.

When are we publishing these cloud services?
We are currently working to identify a timeline for delivery of these services.

Are there any limitations on what workloads can be moved?
At the commonwealth level, no. However, additional requirements should be included in your considerations, i.e. federal requirements.

How will agencies be able to connect to the different cloud environments?
There will be an initial network charge to connect to a cloud environment.

Will connections to other cloud environments be allowed?
If a SaaS solution is being used, yes. Otherwise, VITA provided services (private cloud, AWS, Azure, and Oracle) must be used.

Will VITA manage enterprise-level activities?
Yes.

Can the details behind the optimization analysis be shared with the agencies?
Yes, this information will be available at a later date.

Did the optimization analysis impact the data center move project?
No.

Why not just "lift and shift?"
VITA wants to avoid any extra costs that could be incurred by the agencies.

Can agencies obtain their own agency cloud?
Yes, through the VITA service portal.

Are the capabilities the same across the cloud suppliers?
Yes, each cloud service provider offers a similar set of services.

Can our cloud environments have different sizes in development than the production environment?
Yes, development and production environments can be different sizes.