a central point for collection of information as it relates to cloud computing in the government
Dept of Navy and “the cloud”
June 19, 2009 at 1:53 pm #74122
From the Navy’s CIO blog
Let’s chat about cloud computing, the opportunity it presents and what has to happen in order for the Department of the Navy to realize its potentially vast benefits. As we move closer and closer toward enterprise IP-based communications, cloud computing seems to be a logical step forward to make computing more effective and efficient.
A lot of definitions exist for cloud computing: Is cloud computing merely the development and deployment of thin clients with huge centrally located server farms providing application hosting and data storage? I think there is more to it …
Wikipedia defines cloud computing as “a metaphor for the Internet, based on how the Internet is depicted in computer network diagrams, and is an abstraction for the complex infrastructure it conceals.” It also states that “cloud computing is a style of computing in which dynamically scalable and often virtu[alized] resources are provided as a service over the Internet. Users need not have knowledge of, expertise in, or control over the technology infrastructure ‘in the cloud’ that supports them. The concept incorporates infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and software as a service (SaaS) as well as Web 2.0 and other recent technology trends that have the common theme of reliance on the Internet for satisfying the computing needs of the users.”
Cloud computing is believed to dramatically reduce total cost of ownership, improve productivity, increase ease of maintaining high degrees of security, significantly reduce the network footprint – and it represents the greenest IT footprint yet.
So what’s not to like?
DISA has developed the Rapid Access Computing Environment (RACE), a computing environment that enables DoD users to customize, purchase and receive their platform in 24 hours via the Internet. Similarly, the Navy released the request for proposal for CANES, a common shipboard computing environment. But how do we get our present NMCI, ONE-NET and MCEN architectures to move toward the CANES architecture? And ultimately how do we get the Naval Networking Environment (NNE) 2016 to move toward and embrace the cloud?
First, we must define where the cloud computing model is applicable. The Navy’s ships at sea and Marine warfighting units present challenges unique to the Naval service in this regard. How broad and reliable must connectivity be for the cloud to work? Most garrison environments in the Department appear to be prime candidates to test cloud computing.
Users should be able to build a web-based application, using a standard platform, that uses standard database structures and not care about which servers, which databases, which hardware, or how much memory is used. This would make use of the computing environment much simpler — much like Web 2.0 tools have done. Users can be free from most technical issues given that the architecture is defined. Today we are able to make use of Continuous Process Improvement/Lean Six Sigma software as a service through effective server basing of applications, thereby reducing the licensing costs and allowing the users access as required.
Second, in parallel, the Department must define a business case to develop new applications in this new model and prove that the cloud works. Our CANES Common Computing Environment represents a step toward this goal.
Third, we must invest in the way forward. Transition to the new model of computing will certainly require some investment before the benefit stream produces savings.
I believe that the Department must take advantage of this transformational opportunity to leverage its computing assets as part of the NNE 2016.
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