The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Cloud Operations and Migration Services (COMS) program enables the development and deployment of cloud applications across the agency, which is critical to VA’s modernization and transformation effort to better serve our nation’s Veterans.
Since 2018, Cognosante and the COMS team have supported the implementation and maintenance of the multi-vendor VA Enterprise Cloud (VAEC). The team deploys, maintains, and manages best-in-class management tools and support the VA through the complex technical and compliance challenges involved in migrating 350 VA applications, including moving VHA’s electronic health record (VistA) from on-premise data centers to the cloud. Our project team also guides and helps VA establish development, security, and operations models to assist its organizational transformation.
Cognosante’s cloud experts partnered with VA application teams as a trusted advisor to familiarize stakeholders with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure cloud service provider capabilities, application migration specifics, and additional capabilities provided through VAEC services. Bringing strategy and tactical execution to the effort, we organized the migrations using Agile project management tools and applied Cognosante Cloud Foundations Framework principles, a scalable, platform-agnostic framework we developed to aid agencies’ cloud transformations.
The work includes implementing two cloud environments in AWS and Azure and unifying VA data centers, and other cloud projects and vendor platforms to meet enterprise requirements. We established the unified cloud solution strongly focused on governance and security to ensure compliance, deliver on service level agreement commitments, provide cost visibility and optimization, and monitor accounts with least-privileged access enforcement.
To date, we have built cloud environments in both Amazon Web Services and Azure platforms and migrated, or are currently migrating, almost 300 applications out of a backlog of 350 from on-premise data centers. These VA applications are now operating in the VAEC while meeting or exceeding the VA’s security compliance regulations. VA’s application teams in the VAEC have seen performance gains and cost savings due to this work, ultimately resulting in service improvements for Veterans.
The cloud migration ultimately enabled VA to rapidly expand its remote services, when it was suddenly needed. Specifically, early in the COVID-19 pandemic, we aided VA by developing and deploying a complex set of virtual machines in the cloud. As a result, VA was able to expand telework capabilities to 100,000 additional users in weeks, instead of months, which made it possible to serve Veteran beneficiaries with little to no interruption.
By aiding VA in its cloud journey, we’re helping them move away from the financial and operational costs of onsite data centers and create a culture of cloud optimization that leads with data security. That means VA can better serve their customers, our nation’s Veterans.