By by Farry Philippe-Auguste and Kim Heard, SECFebruary 12, 2013
The Problem Statement
This data center infrastructure evolved over many years around individual Component and program needs and is characterized by a lack of Enterprise-wide integration, an inability to effectively secure information and share it across the Department and with mission partners, an inability to effectively leverage new technology, duplication of systems and services, unnecessary complexity, and excessive facility capacity.
Building and running on-premise applications is complex, expensive, and risky. Each application requires hardware, an operating system, databases, middleware, Web servers, and other software. Once the stack is assembled, a team of developers has to navigate complex programming models like J2EE, .NET, Coldfusion and SAP. A team of network, database, and system management experts is then needed to deal with enormous complexity, such as new deployment architectures, management and monitoring of the resources, application lifecycle management, infrastructure licensing, security and scalability. Constant new business requirements coupled with new security requirements require changes to the applications, which then kick off a lengthy development, test, accreditation and redeployment cycle.In light of these issues, DoD policy makers are looking to Cloud Computing for help in addressing these problems.
What is Cloud Computing
Cloud Computing is a model that conveniently enables on-demand, self-serviced access to a shared pool of computer resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, processing and data) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or interaction.
Several private Cloud solutions within the DoD are trying to tackle these problems by consolidating at the infrastructure layer. The centralization, abstraction and virtualization are accomplished at the network, storage and servers layers. Although some efficiency can be gained by leveraging this Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) model, none of the current solutions are fundamentally addressing the infrastructure software stacks (middleware or platform layer). There are a lot of conversations on how to stop the different silo'ed environments in the Army, but none of the current proposed solutions are consolidating and abstracting at that layer, which limits the actual return on investments and benefits associated with actually centralizing and consolidating DoD applications.
SEC's Cloud.Mil Solution
Cloud.Mil is a private Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) solution that allows organizations to streamline IT operations, simplify application deployments, and lower the cost of IT operations by automating traditional complex manual administrative tasks and optimizing the number of software licenses required to run today's applications. Cloud.Mil offers a faster, more cost-effective model for application development and delivery. This is accomplished by providing a self-service, on-demand development and deployment platform for developers to quickly deliver the applications needed to respond to rapidly changing business needs and also provide IT managers real time performance metrics, audit and summary view of the applications in the cloud.
Cloud.Mil provides the entire infrastructure needed to deploy and run web-based applications and services over the Internet. This approach streamlines the Information Assurance (IA) accreditation process while increasing the security posture of the applications. Cloud.Mil allows for a unique abstraction layer that allows for consolidation at the middleware layer while still segregating application information. This unique approach maximizes the efficiencies gained while defense agencies are centralizing applications to the enterprise.
Cloud.Mil is a DoD-specific comprehensive end-to-end application management platform solution that simplifies the development, deployment and runtime management web-based applications and services. This is a DoD architected solution that is aimed at solving the DoD's unique challenges.
With Cloud.Mil, DoD IT departments can focus on innovation instead of complex infrastructure. By leveraging the PaaS, organizations can redirect a significant portion of their budgets from "keeping the lights on" to creating applications that provide real business value.
The benefits of Cloud Computing for the DoD far exceed the challenges. Listed below are some of the benefits that Cloud Computing offers:
Seamless failover and continuity-of-operations (COOP) features
Single click deployment features
Real time auditing
Streamlined IA process
Centralized realtime portfolio management
Maximized efficiencies gained with consolidation
Cloud.Mil is aligned with the DoD Cloud Computing Goal: Implement cloud computing as the means to deliver the most innovative, efficient, and secure information and IT services in support of the Department's mission, anywhere, anytime, on any authorized device.