Deputy CIO Wennergren outlines why DoD is migrating to the cloud

November 5, 2009

Hear DoD Deputy CIO Dave Wennergren at ELC.


“Did you hear cloud computing is all the rage?”

That is a recent — and direct — quote from DoD Deputy CIO Dave Wennergren, who just talked to FederalNewsRadio about a new open source memo.

But that’s not all DoD is doing.

Wennergren recently talked about what his agency is doing in terms of the cloud at the Executive Leadership Conference.

He began his remarks by likening the cloud to a double-edged sword.

“I have this theory that, if you can ride the wave of change about enthusiasm for something that’s in the public psyche, then it makes it a lot easier to do change within your organization. If there’s a demand signal on the part of your constituencies — your clients [and] customers, then it becomes a lot easier to tell them that [in order] to get that, they’re going to have to do something different.”

Throughout history, he said, it’s been the same. Not everyone wanted to use a personal computer when they first rolled out; nor did everyone trust the Internet at first; however, forward-thinking organizations demonstrated how to use this new technology in a beneficial manner, and thus got clients on board.

“You have that going on right now with cloud computing — which is the good side. The tough side is that, when you have so much hype . . . then you have that, as Gartner would say, the great risk of the trough of disillusionment. So, trying to do expectation management about — what does cloud computing mean to you and how would you leverage it and what would you leverage for? It’s not going to be the same for everybody.”

Though it is different for every organization and agency, Wennergren highlighted what DoD is currently doing in order to give everyone at ELC a better idea of how the cloud might work.

“So we have this vision in the Department of Defense that you’re going to be able to get on any computing device, slap your card in and find the people and information that you need to get your job done. That’s a different world than the one we live in today, but there is a whole bunch of activity that’s going on to break down those barriers.”

Currently, these activities range from leveraging Web services and move to a more service oriented approach to doing business to eliminating stovepipes to utlizing Web 2.0 tools.

“In DoD speak, we’ve been talking about net-centric for a long time, which is what this is all about. This movement to the cloud is a culmination of a data-focused approach, a service oriented approach and the ability to have your infrastructure ubiquitously available along with the services.”

Overall, Wennergren said DoD’s goal is having a massive ability to collaborate in a secure environment.

“If you do it right, you could actually do this better in a world that involves the cloud.”

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Interior’s National Business Center hopes to start offering IaaS soon

October 28, 2009

As we’ve been telling you, the Federal Cloud Blog got to go to this year’s Executive Leadership Conference in Williamsburg, Va.

While there, we caught up with Doug Bourgeois, Director of the Interior Department’s National Business Center.

Today, we bring you a bit of that interview.


Listen to the first half of FCB’s interview with Doug Bourgeois


Federal Cloud Blog: The National Business Center is taking a serious look at cloud computing. Talk about where you see how cloud computing can really affect or improve the way you deliver services to other federal agencies.

douglas_bourgeois

Doug Bourgeois, Director, National Business Council, Interior Dept.

Doug Bourgeois: Cloud computing has several benefits, from a consumer of cloud services perspective.

One that is drawing a lot of interest in terms of the potential clients that we’re talking to now is the considerable improvement in service levels. In other words, it takes a matter of minutes to provision a new virtual server in a cloud environment. So, if you want to start a development project or get something underway, you don’t have to wait for the procurement process to go and carry its due course and have the technical folks install new equipment and so on and so forth. It really is — it’s an over-used word — but it really a paradigm shift in the way IT services are delivered.

Then the second benefit is, instead of having to purchase capital equipment, it just becomes a much less expensive expense item. You can also turn it off when you no longer need it, so you don’t have that poor investment.

FCB: When do you foresee getting a pilot going or getting into the early stages of cloud computing around shared services? Are you already there or is it a few more months out ?

DB: We’re very, very close. We are running some internal systems in the cloud now. For example, our Lotus notes application has been running in the cloud for several months. That’s part of our process for becoming familiar with the technology and how to operate it and optimize it. Our plan will have a soft launch for infrastructure-as-a-service development test environment in the month of November. [We’d like] earlier rather than later, but we’ll see. The testing is looking really, really good right now. [It] will be completed in the next week or so and then we’ll see where it goes from there. So, we’re expecting to have something ready pretty soon.

FCB: This would be for financial management, human resources — your customers that you provide the shared services for? Or would this be more internal to NBC as they develop new applications for your customers?

DB: The initial launch actually is a true infrastructure-as-a-services offering, which means it’s really intended for anybody who needs an environment to work in. So, for example, [if] somebody wants to do a software development project with our infrastructure service, we’ll be able to come in and provision a combination of CPU resources and memory and storage and so on and so forth and be able to load up their software development tool into that environment and start writing code. So, you can get started writing your software in the cloud with this service.

FCB: To be clear, this is software development for anything you want? It doesn’t have to be around the shared services that you guys provide. It could be an application that is very specific to one agency?

DB: That’s exactly right. In the shared services sense, when you get more to the business application, which are getting to the software-as-a-service type of an offering, but in order to have software-as-a-service enabled — it all sits on an infrastructure-as-a-service foundation. So we’re kind of incrementally getting to the software-as-a-service part and the first part is infrastructure-as-a-service, which is going live in the month of November. We’re real pleased about that.

FCB: Where do you see some of your biggest challenges and roadblocks that you’re going to have to overcome to not only get this up, because you’re pretty close, but to get people to use it [and] get people to really trust it?

DB: I think that’s what we’ve been very focused on. We identify it as the barriers to adoption. On the one hand, we believe that there is so much potential benefit that there’s going to be very high demand. This is really a new computing model that is going to take off. So, we’re looking at it from the vantage point and saying — what would cause people to be initially concerned that we’ll have to overcome? Security is a big one. [That is] generally the number one issue. There’s a whole different set of security issues that people are concerned about. Then, I think a second [concern] is, people don’t necessarily know what they can do with it. There’s a lot of confusion about cloud offerings.

Come back tomorrow when we’ll have more with Doug Bourgeois!


FCB goes to the Executive Leadership Conference

October 27, 2009

The Executive Leadership Conference took place in Williamsburg, Va., over the past couple of days — and Fed Cloud Blog was there.

Federal CIO Vivek Kundra was there — and talked about a number of topics, including the fact that the federal government has seemed to have accumulated a large number of data centers over the years.

(Read more from WFED’s Jason Miller here.)

FCB cares because Kundra said that one of the long-term solutions for this problem involves cloud computing.

“We need to be able to dynamically allocate resources as we serve the American people through various applications.”

So, is there a cloud computing Line of Business in the future? Kundra said, not really, but the federal government did release a cloud computing strategy, which was released back with Apps.gov in September.

Overall, it seems that the federal government is, for now, taking small steps when it comes to moving into the cloud.

FCB will bring you more info from ELC as it comes back into the newsroom all this week.


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