Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Kong Yang, Jason Bloomberg, Derek Weeks

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Cloud Security, Government Cloud

@CloudExpo: Article

Is Cloud Computing for Real?

Summary of Session by CIO of the National Reconnaissance Office at Cloud Expo New York

In October 2009, Enterprise Cloud Computing was considered bleeding edge technology by many but there was something that seemed different about its value potential and adoption rate. For CIOs, it seemed a chance to provision affordable infrastructure quickly, alleviating delays to mission critical deliveries. Federal CIOs interest in Enterprise Cloud Computing was limited to innovators and early adopters. Two years later, where does Enterprise Cloud Computing stand? Is it for real?



Today, Cloud Computing is on the Gartner® technology hype curve in the “peak of inflated expectations” category. Its placement on the curve—even though we all should prepare for the dreaded “trough of disillusionment” dip—indicates Cloud Computing is, indeed, for real. There are other indicators of note also. CIOs across the board are focused on the success Cloud Computing can deliver. Vendors are sparring with each other to obtain space in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant. The Federal CIO has issued a “Cloud First” policy and published the first Federal Cloud Computing Strategy. And, it’s been featured in the hit comic strip Dilbert—a pop culture indicator worth noting!

Federal agencies need IT solutions that can handle current missions—from supporting counter-terrorism to combating proliferation of weapons of mass destruction--and we need IT that can handle global surge demands based on fluctuating world events and natural disasters. Federal IT must be efficiently adaptable and properly affordable to meet evolving mission needs. It must be capable of keeping pace with the exponential growth of data, including the increasing complexities of maintaining legal and regulatory compliance of information management and assurance.

As a CIO, building your cloud strategy can be confusing as there are many options to consider before making a decision. Cloud Computing can deliver within a variety of characteristics. Each CIO will need to consider the characteristics of primary importance in order to properly center a strategy. For example, determining your needs for rapid elasticity, on-demand self-service, global access, and payment options will be necessary to develop the right strategy. The second consideration for a CIO is just how far up the stack she wants to go. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS) each deliver different features and capabilities for your business. You can develop a plan that includes some or all of the Services. Finally, a CIO needs to think about the deployment model(s) that best fit her business (Public, Private, Community, and Hybrid).

Cloud Computing isn’t perfect; there are concerns to manage and mistakes to avoid. The number one concern remains Security and that’s given rise to Enterprise Cloud Computing deployments and private clouds. But, there are other concerns also such as the skill set of your workforce, requirements for compliance verification, legacy baseline migration, and costs. For example, depending on the percentage of your legacy that can successfully transition to Cloud, your cost-benefit equation may not provide sufficient return for the investment.

Common mistakes to avoid include: assuming Cloud Computing is for everything; planning for a “light switch” migration from legacy to new; selecting only one vendor and creating early lock-in; underestimating the cultural change required by your own IT team; and implementing a bunch of mini- clouds in your existing data closets.

We’ve spent 18 months developing the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) IT strategy and roadmap; we gave it a lot of thought but it is just an example and not the only way to move forward. Our cloud delivery model will be private first and then a hybrid of private and community (with our Intelligence Community colleagues). We’re moving our way up the stack starting with IaaS and PaaS first, then SaaS. And, we are focused on a phased revolutionary approach—building a new environment as a green field.

Our planning has highlighted the need to focus attention on management of the NRO Cloud. Defining specific roles and responsibilities, articulating cloud service level agreements between the provider and users, adjusting organizational constructs to fit the Cloud business model, and streamlining configuration control processes to meet the rapid timelines of provisioning must all be addressed if success is to be achieved. Our planning also indicated the NRO mission would not be served by a CPU-based commodity cloud alone. We also need a high-performance cloud that is GPU-based and we are learning there are industry gaps in this area.

The NRO Cloud strategy won’t be too different from how other Federal agencies adopt Cloud Computing. Most agencies processing classified information are focused on private clouds versus public clouds for security and information management/assurance reasons. Over time, though, I believe federal community clouds will emerge, as will private hybrid clouds, which allow agencies to maintain a private space as well as take advantage of federal community clouds.

The NRO Cloud will be implemented in four phases over the course of 6 years. It’s a complex migration necessarily paced to meet federal budget processes, existing acquisition commitments, and mission service imperatives.

  • Phase 1 – Test It. We have multiple small cloud pilots ongoing covering commodity/utility cloud, high performance cloud, and big data cloud. We are focused on streamlining information assurance compliance, developing appropriate policies and processes, and defining standards.
  • Phase 2 – Prove It. In this phase, we will merge successful elements from Phase 1, finalize policies, prototype management and governance changes necessary for cloud provisioning models, refine standards, realign programs as needed, and ensure enterprise foundation capabilities meet mission demands.
  • Phase 3 – Use It. Scaled deployment of the enterprise Cloud will occur. Applications will develop specific transition and migration plans generally aligned with planned refresh cycles. Service management processes and new centralized information assurance approaches will be refined for long-term success.
  • Phase 4 – Exploit It. The NRO Cloud will emerge as the primary Enterprise Infrastructure Services Provider with robust measures of effectiveness, performance accountability, and service transparency. New mission and business applications will emerge through innovations in Cloud Computing and federation with the IC Cloud will be achieved moving the NRO into a hybrid environment.

In summary, the time for Cloud Computing is now. All of the indicators are in place to suggest a rapid and successful migration to this newest generation of IT architecture. It is not a one-size-fits-all migration. CIOs will need to spend time exploring Cloud Computing solutions to find the combination that best responds to specific mission and business needs. Maintaining awareness of the concerns and mistakes is absolutely necessary and security remains the top concern. Security is a huge focus for IT vendors and creative, robust solutions will be constantly emerging to reduce concerns. Large organizations will increasingly turn to Enterprise Cloud Computing strategies to achieve efficiencies of Cloud Computing while reducing risks of exposure for intellectual property, customer privacy, and competitive strategies.

More Stories By Jill Tummler Singer

Jill Tummler Singer is CIO for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO)- which as part of the 16-member Intelligence Community plays a primary role in achieving information superiority for the U.S. Government and Armed Forces. A DoD agency, the NRO is staffed by DoD and CIA personnel. It is funded through the National Reconnaissance Program, part of the National Foreign Intelligence Program.

Prior to joining the NRO, Singer was Deputy CIO at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), where she was responsible for ensuring CIA had the information, technology, and infrastructure necessary to effectively execute its missions. Prior to her appointment as Deputy CIO, she served as the Director of the Diplomatic Telecommunications Service (DTS), United States Department of State, and was responsible for global network services to US foreign missions.

Singer has served in several senior leadership positions within the Federal Government. She was the head of Systems Engineering, Architecture, and Planning for CIA's global infrastructure organization. She served as the Director of Architecture and Implementation for the Intelligence Community CIO and pioneered the technology and management concepts that are the basis for multi-agency secure collaboration. She also served within CIA’s Directorate of Science and Technology.

Comments (1) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
Elad Israeli 06/20/11 08:48:00 AM EDT

I can relate to many points you list here. I come from the business intelligence space, where the Cloud and SaaS are way overly hyped - mainly due to some startups in the space.

http://tinyurl.com/saas-bi

@CloudExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Conference Guru has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. A valuable conference experience generates new contacts, sales leads, potential strategic partners and potential investors; helps gather competitive intelligence and even provides inspiration for new products and services. Conference Guru works with conference organi...
"MobiDev is a Ukraine-based software development company. We do mobile development, and we're specialists in that. But we do full stack software development for entrepreneurs, for emerging companies, and for enterprise ventures," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
"We focus on composable infrastructure. Composable infrastructure has been named by companies like Gartner as the evolution of the IT infrastructure where everything is now driven by software," explained Bruno Andrade, CEO and Founder of HTBase, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
It is ironic, but perhaps not unexpected, that many organizations who want the benefits of using an Agile approach to deliver software use a waterfall approach to adopting Agile practices: they form plans, they set milestones, and they measure progress by how many teams they have engaged. Old habits die hard, but like most waterfall software projects, most waterfall-style Agile adoption efforts fail to produce the results desired. The problem is that to get the results they want, they have to ch...
Wooed by the promise of faster innovation, lower TCO, and greater agility, businesses of every shape and size have embraced the cloud at every layer of the IT stack – from apps to file sharing to infrastructure. The typical organization currently uses more than a dozen sanctioned cloud apps and will shift more than half of all workloads to the cloud by 2018. Such cloud investments have delivered measurable benefits. But they’ve also resulted in some unintended side-effects: complexity and risk. ...
Cloud applications are seeing a deluge of requests to support the exploding advanced analytics market. “Open analytics” is the emerging strategy to deliver that data through an open data access layer, in the cloud, to be directly consumed by external analytics tools and popular programming languages. An increasing number of data engineers and data scientists use a variety of platforms and advanced analytics languages such as SAS, R, Python and Java, as well as frameworks such as Hadoop and Spark...
In 2014, Amazon announced a new form of compute called Lambda. We didn't know it at the time, but this represented a fundamental shift in what we expect from cloud computing. Now, all of the major cloud computing vendors want to take part in this disruptive technology. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Doug Vanderweide, an instructor at Linux Academy, discussed why major players like AWS, Microsoft Azure, IBM Bluemix, and Google Cloud Platform are all trying to sidestep VMs and containers wit...
No hype cycles or predictions of zillions of things here. IoT is big. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, Associate Partner at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data analytics considerations, edge-to-cloud tec...
When growing capacity and power in the data center, the architectural trade-offs between server scale-up vs. scale-out continue to be debated. Both approaches are valid: scale-out adds multiple, smaller servers running in a distributed computing model, while scale-up adds fewer, more powerful servers that are capable of running larger workloads. It’s worth noting that there are additional, unique advantages that scale-up architectures offer. One big advantage is large memory and compute capacity...
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists examined how DevOps helps to meet the de...
The taxi industry never saw Uber coming. Startups are a threat to incumbents like never before, and a major enabler for startups is that they are instantly “cloud ready.” If innovation moves at the pace of IT, then your company is in trouble. Why? Because your data center will not keep up with frenetic pace AWS, Microsoft and Google are rolling out new capabilities. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Don Browning, VP of Cloud Architecture at Turner, posited that disruption is inevitable for comp...
"When we talk about cloud without compromise what we're talking about is that when people think about 'I need the flexibility of the cloud' - it's the ability to create applications and run them in a cloud environment that's far more flexible,” explained Matthew Finnie, CTO of Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datanami has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datanami is a communication channel dedicated to providing insight, analysis and up-to-the-minute information about emerging trends and solutions in Big Data. The publication sheds light on all cutting-edge technologies including networking, storage and applications, and thei...
"We are a monitoring company. We work with Salesforce, BBC, and quite a few other big logos. We basically provide monitoring for them, structure for their cloud services and we fit into the DevOps world" explained David Gildeh, Co-founder and CEO of Outlyer, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Join us at Cloud Expo June 6-8 to find out how to securely connect your cloud app to any cloud or on-premises data source – without complex firewall changes. More users are demanding access to on-premises data from their cloud applications. It’s no longer a “nice-to-have” but an important differentiator that drives competitive advantages. It’s the new “must have” in the hybrid era. Users want capabilities that give them a unified view of the data to get closer to customers and grow business. The...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Silicon India has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Published in Silicon Valley, Silicon India magazine is the premiere platform for CIOs to discuss their innovative enterprise solutions and allows IT vendors to learn about new solutions that can help grow their business.
The Internet giants are fully embracing AI. All the services they offer to their customers are aimed at drawing a map of the world with the data they get. The AIs from these companies are used to build disruptive approaches that cannot be used by established enterprises, which are threatened by these disruptions. However, most leaders underestimate the effect this will have on their businesses. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rene Buest, Director Market Research & Technology Evangelism at Ara...
"We do one of the best file systems in the world. We learned how to deal with Big Data many years ago and we implemented this knowledge into our software," explained Jakub Ratajczak, Business Development Manager at MooseFS, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Five years ago development was seen as a dead-end career, now it’s anything but – with an explosion in mobile and IoT initiatives increasing the demand for skilled engineers. But apart from having a ready supply of great coders, what constitutes true ‘DevOps Royalty’? It’ll be the ability to craft resilient architectures, supportability, security everywhere across the software lifecycle. In his keynote at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Jeffrey Scheaffer, GM and SVP, Continuous Delivery Busine...