The DOD cloud strategy recognizes the department’s disjointed and siloed systems have negatively impacted the effectiveness of warfighters, decision makers and staff. According to the strategy, only cloud computing will “enable the department to harness the full power of its data and information systems.” In short, the strategy calls for leveraging the cloud to achieve the lofty goal of information dominance.
That’s what makes the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract so important. With its mega-investment in cloud services, the DOD is showing an unwavering commitment to providing staff, decision makers and warfighters with real-time access to critical information.
Technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are key to the information dominance strategy, and the cloud underpins those technologies. AI and machine learning depend heavily on the compute power provided by the cloud. A cloud-based infrastructure gives organizations the ability to compute and crunch data, in real time.
Gaining a competitive advantage depends heavily on troops’ ability to access the actionable information in an on-demand manner. Therefore, using the edge of the network to deliver information at speed is critical. The cloud can deliver services, including high-bandwidth applications that provide video and audio. This enables warfighters and DOD staff to get critical information much more quickly, leading to better and faster decisions on the battlefield.
The U.S. Army’s Command Post Computing Environment (CP CE) is one example of the DOD taking its systems to the cloud to improve efficiencies and data sharing on the battlefield. According to the Army, “CP CE will eliminate stovepiped legacy systems and provide an integrated, interoperable, cybersecure and cost-effective computing infrastructure framework for multiple warfighting functions.”
The Army’s effort shows how effective the cloud can be in bringing together disparate systems and establishing a powerful platform for information dissemination and communications. The result is a more informed, effective, and dominant military.
DOD should adopt a measured approach to cloud migration. First, take a hard inventory and complete an analysis on all of their systems to determine what is and isn’t a candidate to move to the cloud.
Not all systems are cloud appropriate. It may be more trouble than it’s worth to attempt to migrate legacy technologies onto a cloud platform. Instead, agencies may opt to start from the beginning with more flexible and agile cloud-ready solutions.
The DOD recognized this point in its report: “DOD is driving toward an enterprise cloud environment that is composed of a general-purpose cloud and multiple fit-for-purpose clouds. In addition, it should be recognized that the department will still need non-cloud data center capabilities for applications that are not suited for the cloud. Over time, with the adoption of an enduring enterprise cloud strategy, the non-cloud environment should become smaller.”
Once an agency determines what should be migrated to the cloud, we suggest starting with the low hanging fruit first to get some quick wins. Discover what works best and use your knowledge to tackle the harder lifts. As more basic systems are migrated to the cloud, the organization’s information technology staff will be able to develop best practices on how to effectively migrate infrastructure and services.
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