When you think of the proponents of cloud products and services, most people envision scrappy startups, limber e-commerce companies, media giants, and other market innovators. Unless you’re a government employee or contractor, government agencies using cloud-based technology and resources probably don’t come to mind.

In reality, though, a growing number of government organizations are modernizing by moving to the cloud and adopting agile and DevOps practices. In fact, a recent report from IDC Government predicts that federal cloud growth will be substantial through 2019. Even the National Security Agency announced it will be moving some of its IT infrastructure to Amazon Web Services, joining the Department of Defense, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and other agencies in adopting cloud computing.

Serving 50 million using the cloud

CMS logoTake CMS for example. Part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, CMS covers 100 million people through Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and the Health Insurance Marketplace. A combined active user base of more than 50 million take advantage of Medicare.gov, MyMedicare.gov, Medicaid.gov, InsureKidsNow.gov, and the current administration’s landmark initiative HealthCare.gov.

As part of its shift to a more scalable and agile technology stack, CMS migrated its applications to public and hybrid clouds, switched from expensive proprietary compute and storage hardware, and started using automation tools. It deployed software analytics from New Relic to establish an environment where it can proactively identify problems in the code base and prioritize fixes.

Decreasing time to resolution and increasing development speed

The shift to an agile approach provided significant results. In the past four years, the workload for the web and new media group has more than doubled in terms of the number of websites, programs, and active users being supported. At the same time, the team supporting the digital presence has only needed to grow moderately, expanding by roughly 25%.

The insight CMS gets from software analytics is enabling the agency to be far more agile as it’s more confident about performance before moving to production. CMS accelerated deployment of new releases by 80%. With greater visibility into the health of production applications, it also improved mean time to resolution by 75%. You can learn more about how CMS is using the cloud and New Relic in the full CMS case study.

Smoothing the way for cloud usage

The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) is making it easier for agencies such as CMS to adopt cloud solutions. It provides a standardized approach to security assessment, authorization, and continuous monitoring for cloud products and services.

With a growing number of public sector customers, New Relic recently announced that it initiated the FedRAMP certification process. New Relic was also the first and only application performance monitoring vendor to document its security controls on the Cloud Security Alliance’s Security, Trust & Assurance Registry, the first to launch a vulnerability management partnership with HackerOne, and the first to begin the FedRAMP certification.

Whether agencies are moving to the cloud or adopting agile and DevOps practices, New Relic is doing its part to help public sector organizations like CMS maximize and understand their technology impact in real time and give U.S. citizens the best possible digital experience.


Cloud image courtesy of Shutterstock.com.

Asami Novak is director of content strategy and development at New Relic. Prior to joining the New Relic team, she wrote marketing and ad copy for a variety of B2B and B2C companies. Her editorial writing has appeared in WIRED and Dwell, among other publications. View posts by .

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