US Navy test Cloud Computing

February 2, 2010

I read recently some interesting articles on the use of cloud computing by US government agencies, specifically the US Navy.

Since October 2008 the US government – namely the DISA (Defence Information Systems Agency) has used IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) to deploy RACE (Rapid Access Computing Environment)

RACE provides 24-hour computing resource within a secure private cloud environment, as and when required by anyone with a US government credit card or a completed MIPR (Military Interdepartmental Purchase Request).

OK, so you may not think this in itself is a big deal. But the article, goes on to suggest that the US navy (through the Naval Network Warfare Command) are starting to look outside of their secure, confined, controlled infrastructure walls and potentially run certain computing requirements in both private and public clouds provided by third parties!

Every year annual tests called ‘Trident Warriors’ are conducted on various Navy IT projects. For example after the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina various Navy personnel participated in a Trident Warrior exercise to test new web-based communications technologies; assessing their usability and value in a real-world environment. For further information on such test (

Trident Warrior exercises include stringent technological testing to ensure that the US Navy know exactly what works and what doesn’t work.

Recently the United States Department of Defense (DoD) conducted Trident Warrior tests on third party cloud computing provision supplied to the US Navy through the Amazon EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) and S3 (Simple Storage Service). The Navy used the cloud to run several applications and tested ‘data-in-motion’ security. These first tests conclude that the use of third party, public and private cloud computing for global connectivity, server failover and application access for some applications is OK.

I’ll will be keeping a keen eye on the results of the second round of tests – due to be conducted in Trident Warrior ’10 and released this spring. It will be interesting to see if the adoption of third party provision of cloud is accelerated by any endorsement from what must be one of the most mission critical, security conscious users of computing in the world!


2009: The Year of the “Cloud”

December 15, 2009

As we roll towards the Christmas break it’s that time of year when everyone starts to predict the big tech trends for 2010: what’s going to be the ‘next big thing’ that’s going to change our lives? (So the IT press will have us believe anyway). Before we move into 2010, let’s review 2009!

One of this year’s tech trends has to be ‘cloud computing’. The cloud managed to hit the headlines of the IT press in a big way!

But is Cloud really new? For me the term is new but the science behind it isn’t! We’ve been working on this sort of thing for a long, long time. The difference is that this long established technological theory is now delivered on today’s ‘platform of choice’ the X86 generation. The theory really isn’t anything different from what we’ve all been doing with a mainframe for the last 30 years! Let me explain…think of a mainframe as the IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service). IaaS in its basic form is the utilisation of virtualisation within the data centre – mainframes have been virtualised for years! OK, so the delivery was through a ‘dumb’ terminal – the green screen, BUT the software itself could potentially be delivered as a ‘bureau’ service – SaaS (Software as a Service). This could all be wrapped up as a ‘pay-as-you–grow’ service; you just switch on more ‘MIPS’ (million instructions per second). So really the cloud just covers old ground but with a fresh outlook that maximises returns. You can’t argue that the fundamentals are at least very similar.

Another feature of the cloud is the ‘network’ capability, which allows access from anywhere, anytime. This instantly makes me think back to Sun Microsystems marketing message in the 90’s: ‘the network is the computer’. The difference with cloud computing is the orchestration of today’s computing from the virtualised ‘x86’ engine room through the shop window (Platform-as-a-Service) that is ‘web services via the browser’. The cloud provides the capability to connect quickly and reliably at work, home or on the move, through for example next generation mobile technology.

So let’s look ahead to 2010, I definitely believe that Cloud hype will continue but will start to mature. People will finally start to leverage the potential business value of it and overcome the concerns that are holding them back, such as security and compliance. There will still be people rebadging partially vitualised IT estates as “The Cloud”, but increased cloud adoption means money will be put into developing offerings rather than just running solutions – thus the theory will become a reality… Much more on 2010 next time… 🙂