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Cloud Adoption at the TSA

Jumpstarting a movement to the cloud.

Summary

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Chief Information Officer (CIO) needed help undertaking a broad cloud transformation initiative, so a specialized team of site reliability engineers was provided to jumpstart the transition.

An abstract image showing a car jumpstarter being used on a cloud.

The challenge

The TSA's CIO organization faced several issues associated with running its on-premise IT infrastructure (such as high operating costs), which were going to be further compounded by imminent budget cuts. The cloud presented a way out, but the organization lacked in-depth experience operating in this new way.

The solution

To address this challenge, Chris Cairns, as a member of 18F, designed an approach to kickstart the organization's adoption of a cloud-based operating model. This involved pairing TSA with an expert team of site reliability engineers who:

  • Introduced an agile-based approach to migrating the portfolio of applications over a series of phases
  • Migrated two low-risk applications within a few months to give leadership immediate insight into what changes needed to be made to the organization's structure, culture, talent mix, practices, tooling, and vendor ecosystem
  • Showcased the value of combining cloud services with DevSecOps practices such as infrastructure as code
  • Imparted cloud and DevOps competencies through training, coaching, and hiring support

The results

Notable results include:

  • Jumpstarted movement to the cloud, which is projected to save tens of millions of dollars to meet impending budget reductions
  • Inspired shift toward modern practices such as lean-agile and DevOps