Home' Army Acquisition Logistics and Technology Magazine : Army ALT April-June 2016 Contents REACHING FOR THE CLOUD
he keys to sound decision-making and effec-
tive action are good information—perhaps with
a few specialized tools and services thrown in to
help make sense of it all—and reliable communi-
cations. This is true no matter where you are or what you are
doing—on the battlefield or in the office, conducting major
combat operations, responding to a humanitarian crisis, train-
ing or planning.
Today, communications, the collection, delivery and sharing of
information, and the applications that help us use and under-
stand the information have a common denominator: They are
net work-dependent, and the demand for them is high and con-
stantly increasing. At the same time, the scope and diversity
of Army mission requirements are growing, budgets and staff
levels are declining, and cybersecurity threats and attacks are
becoming more sophisticated and more frequent.
This environment challenges the Army’s ability to maintain
readiness and warfighting superiority. Innovative approaches
that preser ve resources and the Army’s technological edge,
while fulfilling readiness requirements, are the solution. Cloud
computing provides just such a transformational opportunity.
Delivering the enablers that warfighters and decision-makers
need through traditional information technology (IT) infra-
structure is inherently less secure and has become far too
expensive to sustain. Cloud computing, however, offers an ave-
nue to significantly improve the Army’s overall cybersecurity
posture, lower IT hardware and soft ware costs and provide the
flexibility to develop and deliver more quickly the capability
enhancements the force needs.
WHAT CLOUD COMPUTING IS NOT
Cloud computing is not merely a data center that has been
optimized for performance and efficiency. Even the most
optimized data center still requires significant management
to operate, secure, sustain and provision computing resources
(e.g., processing, memory, storage). In a standard data cen-
ter, computing resources are dedicated to specific system and
application owners (one computer is assigned to run only one
application) based on predicted peak levels of demand, which
often exceed actual need. This is known as over-provision-
ing, and these resources are rendered unavailable to other
systems —whether or not they actually are being consumed—
and the system owner pays to sustain them even when they’re
not being used.
WHAT CLOUD COMPUTING IS
In contrast, cloud computing encompasses all of the efficient
features of an optimized data center while adding five essential
1. On-demand self-service, where system and applica-
tion owners can provision, and de-provision, available
computing resources without data center management
2. Broad network access to support multiple types of devices.
3. Shared pooling of configurable computing resources,
which can be released for other uses when demand is low.
4. Rapid elasticity, which enables automatic scaling of
resources up ordown of resources based on actualdemand.
5. Measured services through a metering capability, which
ensures that system and application owners pay only for
the resources they consume.
CLOUD SERVICE MODELS
In general, cloud computing provides capabilities through
three service models, which can be deployed on- or off-prem-
ises in a private, community, public or hybrid environment,
depending on the level of security required:
Software as a Service (SaaS): The cloud service provider
(CSP) operates, secures and sustains all of the computing
infrastructure, including servers, operating systems (plat-
forms) and applications (software). SaaS is a complete service
offering that requires very little intervention beyond the CSP,
with the exception of some minor user-level customization,
which may be offered as part of the service.
Platform as a Ser vice (PaaS): The CSP operates, secures and
sustains the computing infrastructure, including servers and
operating systems. PaaS is a mid-level service offering that
requires the application owner to self-provision and sustain all
services and associated data, including cybersecurity updates
and incident response.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): The CSP operates,
secures and sustains only the hardware. IaaS is the minimum-
level offering. It requires system and application owners to
self-provision and secure the entire operating environment,
including the operating system, application services and asso-
ciated data, and to provide the required cybersecurity updates
and incident response.
58 Army AL&T Magazine
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