FedScoop is reporting that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will soon close its last data center as it finishes moving its data and applications to AWS.
ATF CTO Mason McDaniel told FedScoop the goal is to completely transition users to its AWS cloud environment by the end of the year. The last remaining data center will then be converted into office space.
The transition has been a long time coming, as the agency has worked to modernize its IT after shutting down its disaster recovery data center in 2013. From that point forward, the agency was operating without a safety net, a situation it put to the test in 2016 when it had to evacuate its data center for two days as a result of weather. With no disaster recovery plan in place, the agency had to hope for the best that nothing catastrophic would happen during those two days. Moving to AWS will provide the safety and redundancy the agency needs.
McDaniel believes the upgrade to the cloud should result in significant efficiency gains as well.
“What they’re going to see soon after that, once we finish this part, is a focus back on the actual processes themselves,” McDaniel told FedScoop. “Many, many of the processes that our users and analysts and agents have to go through require them to go from system to system to system because of how we built things in projects over time. Every time something new was needed, the teams that developed the old ones were gone. And over time, we’ve got all the tiny little disconnected systems so the users have to manually go back and forth between them to do stuff.”
This, in turn, should reduce by “half or more the amount of time it takes them to do a lot of their daily activities,” McDaniel said. “That’s when they’re really going to start seeing the benefits.”