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DISA Cloud Computing Plans

During last month’s Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Partnership Conference, cloud computing debuted as a “top priority” for senior leadership. Speakers described a future state when users would access computing time from DISA’s “cloud” to run applications without requiring access to a traditional server. John Garing, DISA CIO, said that the Government is looking to only pay for usage. Cloud computing and virtualization were identified as growing business segments and have quickly been adopted by DISA leadership as a service to DoD customers. Led by DISA’s Computing Services unit this new service will provide military users a faster, cheaper source to run applications in an on-demand environment. Called the Rapid Access Computing Environment (RACE) this “cloud” will give warfighters the ability to configure, order and access a server on the network in less than 24 hours.

While I applaud DISA on their rapid adoption of the cloud concept, I am very concerned about their apparent implemetation path. Unless I’m reading this wrong, DISA is focused on deploying a quicker, easier and less expensive model for providing warfigher access to server hardware and storage. If so, I believe they are missing a very key point. Cloud computing is about providing quick, easy and less expensive access to information. To accomplish this, DISA must also provide web services and the means to effectively consume the information provided by those services.

What makes the Google and Amazon clouds worthwhile is their ability to manipulate information. Server hardware and storage aren’t even in the discussion.

Read more about DISA’s plans in the INPUT article 2008 DISA Partnership Conference – Spotlight on DISA’s Strategic Vision and the Resulting Programs

Follow me at https://Twitter.com/Kevin_Jackson

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3 Comments

  1. Anonymous on August 9, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    Clearly you comments regarding RACE is based upon press releases not on the the studt of RACE architecture. I am refering to your comments that ” am very concerned about their apparent implemetation path. Unless I’m reading this wrong, DISA is focused on deploying a quicker, easier and less expensive model for providing warfigher access to server hardware and storage. If so, I believe they are missing a very key point. Cloud computing is about providing quick, easy and less expensive access to information.

    RACE is a service delivery paltform. The initial service offering is the infrastructure more services will follow.

  2. Kevin Jackson on August 9, 2008 at 11:11 pm

    Unfortunately, I’m not in a position to review the RACE architecture. If RACE is indeed a service delivery platform, then I contend that the press releases should address the planned evolution of RACE. In the Military Information Technology Magazine article “Net-centricity: Adjusting the Focus” Bill Gerety and I actually addressed the need for DISA’s evolution towards information delivery as an end state.

    “DISA should be clearly commended on their rapid adoption of the cloud concept. Its initial focus on deploying a quicker, easier and less expensive model for providing warfigher access to server hardware and storage is a critical first step towards the realization of a truly net-centric military. The next step should ensure that this transition does not stall before completion. Cloud computing is about providing quick, easy and less expensive access to information. Success is only possible with a focused determination to deliver on this final end state. Just think about it. How successful would Google be with its cloud if it were providing the ability to ‘order and access a server’?”

    Services may be an initial first step, but only the delivery of information will address the warfighter’s real requirements. A service platform is OK, but translating those services into actionable information is what a net-centric force requires.

  3. Anonymous on April 30, 2009 at 1:59 am

    ^^Thanks!!

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