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CHIPS Articles: DISA cloud symposium provides outline for cloud adoption process

DISA cloud symposium provides outline for cloud adoption process
DISA Vice Director Rear Adm. Norton touts DISA's cloud experience
By DISA News - December 14, 2017
The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) hosted a symposium to examine the enterprise adoption of cloud architecture and solutions at its Headquarters on Fort George G. Meade, Maryland, Dec. 12.

More than 800 mission partners from Combatant Commands, military services, and agencies participated in-person and virtually.

The symposium provided an opportunity for the agency to explain why cloud adoption matters to the Department of Defense (DoD), set a baseline for cloud terminology, and offer an explanation of DISA’s current cloud service offerings.

“DISA has a lot of cloud experience already; we have been doing this for a number of years,” said DISA Vice Director Rear Adm. Nancy A. Norton. “We want to pull that expertise and experience together to share with you.”

John Hale, chief of DISA’s cloud portfolio, discussed three cloud models: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS), and then described the responsibilities of mission partners and the cloud service provider for each model.

“All three options have their right place,” Hale said. “You, as mission partners, have to look at your individual applications and decide which model is best for you.”

Hale also outlined the differences between on-premise and off-premise commercial cloud, highlighting the benefits of bringing cloud providers into DoD facilities and leveraging capabilities from commercial data centers.

Tanya Lambert, deputy director of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence, and Networks Directorate, and Michelle Jacobs, director of the Defense Logistics Agency’s DISA Liaison and Hosting Office — both early adopters of cloud services — joined Hale in a panel discussion to share lessons learned regarding migrating legacy applications to a cloud platform, including unforeseen costs, the best practice of having a legal team review documentation, and the value of working with DISA to determine requirements and identify the best solution.

Alicia Belmas, deputy chief of DISA’s cloud portfolio, outlined the characteristics and key features of the agency’s three cloud service offerings — milCloud 2.0, On-Site Managed Services (OMS) and Secure Cloud Computing Architecture (SCCA).

Attendees then participated in a breakout session detailing the cloud service most applicable to their mission needs. During the sessions, DISA subject matter experts answered questions and guided mission partners through the initial steps of exploring a potential cloud solution.

Participants received a cloud playbook to help structure the discussion when working with stakeholders to develop a business case analysis and cloud transition plan.

“The session was really beneficial,” said Air Force 2nd Lt. Kieran O'Brien of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, located on Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts. “It’s helpful to understand how cloud computing options are evolving.”

“There’s a lot that we’re right on the verge of moving forward on,” Norton said. “We want to make sure mission partners know what is out there today and what all of the possibilities are for the near term and the far term.”

Presentations from the event are available on DISA.mil. They contain additional information regarding DoD’s cloud strategy, cloud models, data impact levels, DoD cloud deployment models, lessons learned, and DISA’s cloud service offerings.

To learn more, mission partners should contact their Mission Partner Engagement representative or the DISA field office or liaison officer in their area of responsibility.

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