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Storing and Accessing Data at the Edge

This blog post is an excerpt from our recent report created in partnership with NetApp, Enabling Today’s Warfighter With Hybrid Cloud. To download the full report, head here.

To effectively carry out its mission and keep the nation safe, DoD networks must provide uninterrupted access to intelligence and data that is gathered globally. It must then deliver that data easily, transparently and securely to military personnel. This will empower them to better execute their missions both on and off the battlefield.

When data can be exploited and turned into actionable intelligence for those deployed, the DoD can form more accurate, mission-critical decisions.

“With the right data at the right time, users will be able to obtain and reach objectives quicker,” said Rich. “You could truly enable the warfighter by pulling intelligence from raw data in a shorter timeline.” But to enable this vision, the DoD must first overcome several tactical challenges with its data.

“The DoD has hundreds of thousands of users,” Rich pointed out. “Handling the IT infrastructure is a difficult task. But then add to that the particular challenges and goals of the military — tactical deployments, sensitive systems, people deployed in the field, warfighters operating on remote edges with disadvantaged communication links – it adds a whole new level of complexity.”

In short, the DoD faces a set of challenges unique to it as an organization, that makes accessing, storing and moving its data ever more complicated. Then there’s the sheer volume of data being collected in the military.

As the DoD takes advantage of new sensors, Internet of Things-enabled devices and artificial intelligence, the amount of data being used increases exponentially. Trying to organize, store, exploit, disseminate and archive all of this data becomes an overwhelming task.

Finally, DoD’s requirements are unique given its highly mobile and distributed workforce and the high security required for its data. The ability to collect information, move the raw data back to systems for processing and return the results to the field for action in a timely manner, has long been a goal for the military, but it’s difficult to advance with the tactical and cultural challenges it currently faces.

With the advent of faster mobile communications and cloud-based artificial intelligence capabilities, data can be moved from the user in the field up to a cloud for processing and the results can be sent back to the user in near real-time. All that is needed is the underlying infrastructure to make this transparent and accessible

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