Webinar Recap: How Governments Can Leverage Open Source and the Cloud

Webinar Recap article of how Governments can Leverage Open Source and the Cloud

amazee.io partnered with Catalyst Cloud for a candid discussion and Q&A with providers across managed services, infrastructure, and application development for examples, strategies, and learnings on successfully migrating government websites to open source and cloud technologies. The panel was moderated by Toby Bellwood, Product Lead at amazee.io and former lead of major open Government initiatives, including GovCMS. 

Panelists included 

  • Michael Schmid, CTO of amazee.io, the open-source managed hosting provider of GovCMS
  • Bruno Lago, Managing Director of Catalyst Cloud, New Zealand’s open source infrastructure provider
  • Dave Sparks, Owner of Sparks Interactive, a full-service digital agency provider for New Zealand government initiatives 

For governments, moving to the cloud and leveraging open source can offer significant advantages over proprietary, monolithic solutions. But there are also challenges to consider – everything from data sovereignty to choosing the right stack for your use cases. 

The main strengths of open source and criteria for evaluating open source software

What people can achieve through a large open source community is so much bigger than what any individual or company can accomplish alone. The ability to inspect and modify source code is essential. Specifically for governments, every dollar invested into an open source project is not only going back into the country's own economy but can be multiplied everytime another branch of government or new industry can make use of the tools being built. Looking at open source tools it’s important to see what others have achieved with the tools and how it worked for them, you can draw on years of knowledge and growth.

“Open Source isn’t about copying what someone else has done, it’s about seeing what others have done and what you can add to it.” - Dave Sparks

Getting ready to shift to open-source technology

In many countries, there is a growing preference and mandates to use open source whenever possible. To prepare for the use of open-source tools, it’s important to recognize that collaboration and sharing is built into the open-source community and make sure your culture reflects that as well. Recommended steps to support your team while moving into open-source are: 

  • Encourage contribution from a leadership level 
  • Point people towards new tools and trainings
  • Having a buddy system to pair first-time contributors with a more experienced developer who can answer questions
  • Make sure the first contribution experience is a positive one
  • Celebrate successes as a team 
  • Give the gift of time to your developers 

“The open-source values are to ask for help first, share results and compare outcomes.”- Dave Sparks  

Using Cloud technology to prepare for unprecedented Scaling and Security Needs 

The elasticity of resources is key. Allowing customers to increase hardware resources without notifying you gives them the power to scale as needed. Just as you wouldn’t call your electricity company to tell them you’re adding a new appliance, scaling web applications should be automatic within certain parameters. Second generation cloud computing providers are built with scalability and security in mind and follow the most up-to-date best practices.  The open-source community helps learnings become adaptations more quickly than with proprietary software options.

"One of the fundamental characteristics of cloud computing is elasticity and being able to drive the automation of it via APIs... allowing customers to request more or less resources without having to notify you in advance". 

Bruno Lago

Managing Director, Catalyst Cloud

Scalability also helps with security, especially in the case of large-scale attacks. Trying to reinvent the wheel and handle security in-house with custom-built solutions means cutting yourself off from all the knowledge that comes from large-scale testing and proven platforms that have an entire community keeping them updated. 

amazee.io is excited to be partnering with Catalyst Cloud and Sparks to bring more choice and transparency to New Zealand with end-to-end web technology solutions based on open-source principles. Want to learn more? Watch the full recording below and get in touch with any questions!