New strategy establishes DoD-wide enterprise cloud environment

Wednesday - 7/11/2012, 9:58pm EDT

The Defense Department has laid out an ambitious cloud computing strategy that includes building up and transitioning to a DoD-wide enterprise cloud environment as well leveraging a broad range of commercial services.

DoD Chief Information Officer Teri Takai released the four-step strategy Wednesday. The strategy includes steps for winnowing down the number of data centers to a few "core" elements as well as phasing out dedicated infrastructures in favor of shareable, virtualized ones.

Additionally, to manage its use of cloud services, DoD also has designated the Defense Information Systems Agency to act as its cloud-service broker. Going forward, all DoD components will be required to obtain cloud services under DISA's auspices unless they receive a waiver from Takai's office, according to an additional memo from Takai's office.

The steps include:

  1. "Foster adoption of cloud computing." According to the strategy, this will be accomplished in part through an outreach and awareness campaign and a "cultural shift" away from disparate departments and agencies and toward a "seamless, coordinated, unified and integrated data-centric enterprise information environment."

  2. "Optimize data center consolidiation."

  3. "Establish Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure." After DoD agencies and the military services have consolidated data centers and network infrastructure, the remaining "core" data centers will become the foundation on which DoD's enterprise cloud environment will be built.

  4. "Deliver Cloud Services." This will provide both DoD enterprise cloud services as well as external services, including commercial options, brokered by DISA.
As DoD's cloud-service broker, DISA will be responsible for "making it easier, safer and more productive to navigate, integrate, consume, extend and maintain," cloud services at DoD — both its own and those services emanating from other federal agencies or the private cloud providers.

DISA will ensure compliance with the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program guidelines for cloud security.

DoD promises 'agile, secure and cost-effective' approach

In her foreword to the strategy, Takai said the strategy has evolved over a number of informal drafts to include the use of commercial cloud services.

The end goal is improving the department's effectiveness as well as capitalizing on the cost-savings and efficiencies to be realized through widespread adoption and use of an enterprise cloud environment.

The strategy "introduces an approach to move the department from the current state of a duplicative, cumbersome, and costly set of application silos to an end state which is an agile, secure, and cost effective service environment that can rapidly respond to changing mission needs."

The 2012 Defense Authorization Act, among other provisions, directed DoD to implement an official cloud-computing strategy.

This story is part of Federal News Radio's daily DoD Report. For more defense news, click here.

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