VMware's New Federal Chief Cloud Executive Has Proven Cloud Chops

Doug Bourgeois, the new vice president and Federal Chief Cloud Executive for VMware, has earned his cloud chops.

Before coming to VMware two months ago, he implemented a massive cloud solutions overhaul for government agencies as the director of the U.S. Department of The Interior's National Business Center.

In that role, he spearheaded a successful effort to bring an extensive cloud solution portfolio to federal agencies. Under Bourgeois' leadership, the National Business Center put in place infrastructure as a service, platform as a service and software as a service offerings. That led to huge cost savings for government agencies.

But that successful cloud experience also came with some battle scars.

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Bourgeois said the National Business Center's primary data center in Denver, Colorado, which housed the organization's cloud solutions, went down in July 2008 leading to a 24-hour outage for some 300,000 government employees. The outage also caused core financial applications for 38 agencies to go dark.

"(It happened) even though we had done everything we needed to do by co-ordinating with the power company and telling them every change we made and coordinating every design and increased draw of the power into the data center," Bourgeois said. "We were changing things rapidly, added in some power distribution units and started to draw more power and we brought down the Grid."

"The data center went dark," said Bourgeois. "So what happened? We had to execute our disaster recovery plan."

Next: Lessons Learned From A Cloud Outage

Bourgeois said one of the lessons learned from the outage was there needs to be more than a theoretical disaster recovery simulation.

"It goes down to the run books that you have," said Bourgeois. "They are manual in most cases. Even though you test them manually, at the CIO level, you think it is being carried out step by step. You realize it is not. They kind of simulate and pretend. So when it comes time to execute, the manual run books don't work."

Bourgeois said the outage would not have occurred today given the advances in "virtualization and storage solutions."

Ultimately, Bourgeois said the National Business Center, which acts as a service bureau, was unsuccessful getting government agencies to buy into a disaster recovery solution. "It is a matter of investment in a DR solution," he said. "And nobody wants to pay for it."

"We would only do what our customers paid us to do," said Bourgeois, who oversaw 1,800 employees and contractors in 24 states.

Bourgeois is now on the front lines making sure that government agency CIOs have the software solutions they need to make the move to the cloud without an outage.

At the Everything Channel Xchange Public Sector conference in Jacksonville, Fla. this week, Bourgeois urged solution providers to come to the aid of public sector CIOs overwhelmed by the demands of their job.

"They don't know what to do," said Bourgeois of the CIOs being hammered by increasing IT complexity and budget pressures. "They have got these constraints and all these demands. They have service levels to meet. They have this new cloud computing thing. Every vendor in the world is coming at them with their version of cloud. They just don't know where to go. They are somewhat paralyzed."

Bourgeois said solution providers can drive cost savings of 30-50 percent in IT operating expense reduction and another 20-30 percent savings in cost expense reduction with cloud solutions. "This is non-trivial," he said. "This is game changing kinds of efficiencies."

Bourgeois said key to success in the cloud solutions market for solution providers is investing in VMware certifications. Partners that invest in higher level certifications are driving three to four times more revenue, he said.

"You have to have the competency to sell a solution," said Bourgeois. "A solution sell is not a license sell. It is a very different animal. It is far more complicated."