Headquartered in Laurel, MD, Aquilent is a leading solution provider of Digital Services, DevOps, and the full range of cloud services exclusively for the federal government. With an emphasis on DevOps, Aquilent offers customers a full range of federal cloud solutions that leverage Amazon Web Services (AWS) through every level of engagement. Aquilent takes total project ownership so agencies can focus on their core mission with confidence. Since 1979, Aquilent continues to deliver tangible, highly strategic results for clients’ most pressing business needs. Aquilent’s commitment to exceed mission objectives is underscored by The Aquilent Advantage™. Founded on the company’s federal expertise and compelled by its passion for exceptional customer service, Aquilent’s rare combination incorporates strategy, innovation, process improvement, high-quality execution, experienced teams, and their consultative approach as a trusted advisor— and Aquilent’s solutions are all easily accessible through a wide variety of procurement options.
The company has been an AWS Partner Network (APN) Partner since 2009 and is a Premier APN Consulting Partner, Authorized Government Reseller, AWS Government Partner Program member, and an AWS Managed Service Partner.
Since its inception, Aquilent has been on a mission to be at the forefront of technological innovation on behalf of its wide base of federal customers. Early on, the company quickly acknowledged the cloud as the future of digital transformation for the federal space. “We recognized that the cloud would provide our federal customers the opportunity to reduce their hosting costs, increase their ability to innovate, significantly reduce procurement time, and improve our ability to secure our customers’ environments and be more flexible,” explains Mark Pietrasanta, Chief Technology Officer at Aquilent. “From a technical perspective, we wanted to take advantage of the rapid elasticity of the cloud to speed our own ability to solve our customers’ needs.” A key consideration for the Aquilent team was the ability to move away from having to build and maintain its own hosting infrastructure, and focus its efforts on the services and solutions delivered to customers.
In 2009, Aquilent moved its corporate infrastructure and back office applications to AWS, and its corporate data center was completely dismantled. “It became clear to Aquilent in 2009 that AWS was going to be a leader for federal customers in public cloud; and we wanted to start working with AWS as early as we could to build our business around the platform,” says Pietrasanta. “Originally, we engaged with other cloud providers, but we recognized the AWS pricing model and feature set to be better suited, in our opinion, to the federal government space.” The stringent security requirements of AWS was also appealing to the Aquilent team, which helps customers take advantage of the AWS GovCloud (US) region. “GovCloud gives government agencies and contractors the ability to move more sensitive workloads into the cloud by addressing their specific regulatory and compliance requirements, such as FISMA, ITAR, HIPAA, SOC 1, ISO 27001, and PCI DSS Level 1,” explains Pietrasanta. “For our customers, the combination of Aquilent, AWS, and GSA reduces security concerns, simplifies procurement, and eases implementation helping to remove the barriers encumbering the federal government’s move to the cloud.”
Aquilent offers a number of services to customers on AWS, including reseller and managed services, along with cloud enablement, transition, and security consultative services. The company takes advantage of a large number of AWS services primarily driven by customer requirements, including core services such as Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Amazon Elastic Load Balancing (Amazon ELB), and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3). The company uses all FedRAMP-compliant services, which includes Amazon EC2, Amazon S3, Amazon Redshift, Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS), and AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM). And the team highlighted AWS CloudTrail as helpful in meeting customer workload security requirements.
“Year-after-year, we continue to see an increase in government customer interest to move workloads to AWS with Aquilent," explains Pietrasanta. Aquilent itself has continued to expand its internal use of AWS. The company moved all desktops to AWS in 2015 and fully virtualized the desktops, “enabling a completely modern workforce,” says Pietrasanta. “Employees can use any device they like – desktop, laptop, tablet, phone – to work any way they prefer.” This has also improved Aquilent’s security posture. “From being able to easily patch all virtual desktops no matter where the user is, to quickly identifying and shutting down suspicious activity, to rapidly and regularly wiping more secure machines with zero downtime and no impact to the end users, we’ve recognized a significant increase in our ability to secure our environment,” explains Pietrasanta.
“Working with AWS has transformed what we provide to our customers,” says Pietrasanta. “We’ve always thrived in the digital services and application development space, but our ability to leverage AWS in order to provide customers with a full end-to-end solution has transformed the type of work we do for customers and has transformed Aquilent as a company, allowing us to specialize and help our customers evolve into Agile, Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery and Deployment, and DevOps.” Aquilent has seen significant business growth on AWS, experiencing cloud growth of 566% over the last year.
The company has built a strong relationship with AWS. A Premier Partner since 2012, Aquilent has invested heavily in its AWS-based business and growing its cloud-focused team. “We’ve made many investments into the strategic focus of our company and our relationship with AWS,” explains Pietrasanta. “Our government customers demand knowledgeable staff, and our ability to provide these customers with AWS trained and certified individuals is a huge benefit and a key differentiator for Aquilent. We have an entire organization in our company called the Cloud Solutions Group that is dedicated to cloud-centered solutions. We have over 40 trained AWS professionals on staff, with almost 100 percent of the Aquilent Cloud Solutions group formally trained and/or certified on AWS. And as a company, we’re not only investing in training our technical staff. We also have AWS-trained sales, contracting, HR, marketing, and accounting staff. We believe that having all facets of our company trained in AWS adds maximum value to our customers.”
Aquilent recently underwent and passed the stringent third-party audit required of APN Partners wishing to become a part of the AWS Managed Service program. “Our acceptance into the program highlights our advanced offerings in the cloud managed services space, which includes the tools necessary to deliver continuous innovation around security, DevOps, proactive monitoring, and streamlined management of customer environments,” says Pietrasanta. “This is very relevant to federal customers who often require a higher-touch given the complexity of their environments and strict security requirements.”
The Aquilent team plans to continue to invest in the growth and training of its Cloud Solutions Group, and to continue to leverage new services from AWS on behalf of its customers. “AWS is one of Aquilent’s most strategic relationships, and we continue to grow that relationship each year. We have a very collaborative relationship with AWS sales, delivery, partner, and executive teams, and we look forward to continuing to expand our relationship,” says Pietrasanta.