WEST 2020 was a memorable event for a couple of reasons. First, it is one of the only in-person conferences to have taken place this year. But, more importantly, it is where the Navy clearly identified multi-cloud as a key approach to support the warfighter and their ability to deliver on the mission as they enter an increasingly complex international arena.
While it may not have the “Wow” factor of some of the aircraft and amphibious vehicles on display at West 2020, multi-cloud is playing a significant role in enabling the Navy to integrate its warfighting capabilities across multiple and connected domains. “Today’s Navy needs to be able to procure, implement, and integrate the right technology at the right time in order to maintain strategic advantage,” shared Alan Yarusevich, Solutions Architect at ViON, who attended WEST 2020. “While there’s been progress with OTAs to help streamline procurement, the Navy is still facing challenges when finding technology that integrates seamlessly and provides them with an integrated management environment.”
With considerable investment in cloud-based solutions the Navy has, unfortunately, hit a frequently encountered obstacle. “Just because data or an application are in the cloud, doesn’t mean that they are integrated,” shared Yarusevich. “Multi-cloud, multi-tenant environments create numerous challenges from data silos, to information enclaves, to security vulnerabilities.” According to Yarusevich to mitigate these challenges, the Navy should look at consolidating and streamlining the management of its multi-cloud environments. “What is ideal in a multi-cloud environment is to be able to provide an enterprise-level view by breaking down those silos and enclaves so that what were fractured views become a single pane of glass. In this way IT managers are able to address the three major challenges – speed of deployment, cost management, and security — that will compromise the warfighters’ mission.”
Whether being used for ConOps or DevOps, enterprise cloud deployments offer numerous operations for streamlining the workload. “Typically, DevOps and ConOps consume thousands of man hours for testing, replication, and migration from private cloud environments to the public cloud,” said Yarusevich. “However, with an enterprise cloud environment which enables automation, templating, and seamless transition between environments these thousands of man hours are reduced to just a few.”
Of course, being able to reduce the number of man hours is both time saving and a cost savings, but the opportunity for the Navy to retain budget by shifting to an as-a-service model is far greater than just that example. “Traditional models of cloud consumption where you pay for a certain amount of storage and compute space might seem like a huge improvement over the CAPEX costs of data centers, but many agencies found themselves accruing unexpected costs on a regular basis,” explained Yarusevich. “It’s important to have a cloud strategy that defines what workloads reside where, to avoid these issues.”
But none of these improvements really matter without more robust security. With all federal agencies, but particularly the defense forces, under constant cyber attack the ability to keep data and systems secure is central to the security of the nation and the safety of the warfighter. “To move from a reactive security stance to a proactive one is an important goal,” said Yarusevich. “A proactive security stance isn’t about being able to identify an attack before it happens, but it’s about knowing that your configuration needs to be updated and being able to update all instances at once. With an as-a-service model the IT manager not only has a holistic view of the network, but, more importantly, the ability to download and remotely update all instances at once. This stops systems from being exposed for months while the Infosec team identifies and updates each instance individually in the hopes that they identified them all and avoided an attack.”
In an increasingly complex world, the opportunity to gather knowledge about innovative solutions like enterprise cloud that put the warfighter and the mission front and center is incredibly valuable. “To be able to provide solutions to the Navy that directly address and solve mission-critical problems is a true honor,” Yarusevich concluded.