Edge360

This is the first in a series coming out of the Comstor Federal Summit (#ComstorFS17), during which Gary Wang, Deputy CIO/G-6, U.S. Army, spoke to Cisco leaders, Comstor partners and value-added resellers (VARs) about the IT challenges the Army faces.

A directive recently issued from Secretary of the Army, Eric Fanning, is designed to spur further data center consolidation and lays out detailed orders to U.S. Army headquarters and functional and geographic commands for what they must do to close 60 percent of the service’s 1,200 data centers by the end of 2018 and 75 percent by 2025.

At #ComstorFS17 in Reston, Va., Gary Wang, Deputy CIO/G-6, U.S. Army, talked about the directive and its objective to move most of the Army’s systems to one of three environments: The Defense Information Systems Agency’s (DISA’s) enterprise computing centers, commercially-run cloud services or a handful of regional Army Enterprise Data Centers (AEDCs) that the service will continue to own and operate.

“We have a directive to migrate all applications to one of four data centers, hopefully with corporately-owned, corporately-operated (COCO) cloud computing on premise doing most of the legwork,” Wang shared. “Our preference for COCO comes from the fact that when the Army started going to the cloud, everyone built their own particular private cloud on premise.

“As a result, we couldn’t take advantage of economies of scale,” he explained. “We want to get the government out of the business of running data centers. We want vendors to not only own them, but also have them run the data centers on premises.”

Wang said that the Army also is looking at what data services can be moved off premise into a commercial cloud. “We probably could move email there, and a public-facing website could probably be there. For our enterprise resource planning (ERP), the Army is pretty much investing in DISA, so we are moving our ERPs into the DISA environment.”

The Army has multiple IT efforts underway, from the network capacity level to the infrastructure layer and the presentation-to-user level. Wang says these efforts are happening in parallel.

Regardless of the effort, Wang says that the Army wants to prevent vendor lock-in when they sign up for cloud services. “We need to assure that the different vendors who are providing cloud services to the Army offer interoperability at the platform-as-a-service (PaaS) level. When we drop down to infrastructure- or hardware-as-a-service, we know we can have interoperability.”

As he pointed out, when any DoD agency goes from one cloud service provider to another, the burden is on the agency or service to create interoperability.

“The ideal situation would be interoperability on PaaS, because then the risk would be on the vendor side,” he said. “But is there a guarantee that there is interoperability between different PaaS providers? This needs some work on the industry side.”

In our next post from #ComstorFS17, we will share Wang’s comments about how the U.S. Army is approaching cybersecurity.   



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