Application Brokering involves the coordination and management of a subset of IT services required in support of systems hosted outside the state datacenter. While Cloud Computing Terminology includes a broad range of topics, NDIT's Application Brokering role focuses around the concepts of Software as a Service (SaaS) and external hosting providers.
Application Brokering Components
Historically, ND State Government mostly utilized on premise computing environments in support of its line-of-business applications. In recent years, the maturity of cloud computing and the shift towards Software as a Service (SaaS) has redefined the IT landscape. However, simply moving applications to the cloud or to an outside provider does not alleviate the need for a subset of NDIT services.
Application Brokering helps to ensure that the costs for core professional and infrastructure services are distributed equitably across all of the state's line-of-business applications. It encapsulates the people, process, and technology associated with providing enterprise management and end-to-end solutions that are not reflected in most base contracts for cloud computing solutions, including:
- Security services
- Directory services
- Network connectivity
- Architectural design and maintenance
- Integration architecture
- Incident, change, and configuration management
- Procurement and contract coordination
- Compliance and risk assessment
- IT planning and portfolio management
These services will continue to be bundled within NDIT's hosting and storage rates for on premise applications. Application Brokering will ensure a consistent approach to Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings and externally hosted systems.
NDIT's Cloud Strategy
NDIT's cloud computing strategy is based on a hybrid environment, which leverages the existing on premise environment when possible and selectively utilizes the external cloud when beneficial. Using the on premise environment, sometimes referred to as a private cloud, allows the state to leverage existing investments in infrastructure and provide a stable and secure environment that agencies and citizens can rely on.
NDIT's 2015-17 Strategic Plan includes the following cloud related initiatives that further reflect its strategy and direction:
- Expand communication with stakeholders regarding cloud services
- Align NDIT’s rate structure with the evolving cloud-based technology landscape
- Improve data-driven decision-making by more effectively leveraging information from internal systems
- Develop a decision-making framework to guide cloud, hybrid, and on premise architectures
- Develop procurement practices and enterprise architecture standards for cloud services
- Develop and establish NDIT’s role in brokering enterprise cloud services
- Determine the network, computing, and software architecture necessary to support cloud services
- Determine the staffing impact of cloud services
Statutory Hosting Policy
North Dakota Century Code (Chapter 54.59.22) mandates that NDIT must provide hosting services for electronic mail, file-and-print server administration, database administration, storage, and application servers. Therefore, a Request For Exemption from the Statutory Hosting Policy is needed prior to utilizing Software as a Service (SaaS) applications or running externally hosted systems.