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DOD CIO, DISA assist ‘fourth estate’ with cloud migrations

Representatives from the Department of Defense (DOD) “fourth estate” were introduced to lessons learned, best practices, and the recommended way forward to migrate applications to milCloud 2.0 at a workshop hosted by the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) at Fort Meade, Maryland, late last month.

The workshop was designed to highlight how DISA will assist the fourth estate - DOD’s headquarters, agencies, and activities that do not fall under the military departments - with the migration to milCloud 2.0 to achieve the DOD Chief Information Officer’s (CIO) mandate to reduce the department's data center footprint and streamline cybersecurity infrastructure.

The process is underway and on plan, according to Caroline Bean, DISA’s milCloud 2.0 program manager.

“We are working with the DOD CIO and our fourth estate partners to triage which applications are ready (to migrate) and which applications require further application rationalization to fully achieve the move to a virtual private cloud environment,” she said.

The triage process provides an opportunity for leaders to evaluate their legacy systems and will help make a determination whether milCloud 2.0 is a good fit.

“In some cases, application owners, after full analysis of their applications, will see a need to re-engineer their legacy systems, especially when wanting to see cost savings in the cloud,” Bean said. “Although there may always be a need for some physical hosting, when it is possible to move an application to a virtual private cloud, we (DISA) want to help them go through that process.”

The process begins with the DOD CIO sending a team of experts to each fourth estate organization to help them define their systems, undergo the triage, and make an informed decision regarding migration, said Bob Brown, DOD CIO’s lead for the data center optimization effort.

“We send out the teams at no cost to our fourth estate partners,” he said. “They will help identify which environments are appropriate for each system and provide an estimate on the investment and sustainment costs that might apply.”

After the triage team approves migration, DISA will assist the fourth estate partners with their movement to milCloud 2.0.

“We have dedicated teams of engineers, project managers, and subject matter experts who will help with the process,” Bean said. “We will help mission partners evaluate their applications, look at funding requirements, develop security plans and timelines for the move, and provide standard operating procedures for on-boarding and migration support. Our goal is to provide first-class customer support to help ease the stress that might come from these migrations.”

DISA’s Defense Collaboration Services (DCS) is poised to migrate its chat functionality to milCloud 2.0 in September and web conferencing capability in October, said Yong Shin, DCS program manager.

“The key for success is to establish a battle rhythm with the milCloud 2.0 migration team,” Shin said. “We conducted weekly calls with the milCloud migration 2.0 team to establish the plan, set milestones and timelines, and identify and remove technical and non-technical roadblocks.”

“We think the DCS migration into milCloud 2.0 will demonstrate DISA’s expertise and ability to provide cloud-ready applications in this latest cloud infrastructure to obtain information technology efficiencies and cost savings for the DOD,” Bean said.

Members of the fourth estate are currently at different stages of the migration. As each migration progresses, DISA will share experiences, challenges, and best practices with all partners to continue to improve the flow, Bean said.

Mary Chason, program management officer for the hybrid cloud with Defense Technical Information Center, said DTIC is well into the migration process. She said migration is not always easy, but with perseverance and teamwork, the obstacles can be overcome.

“Developing and submitting the MIPR (Military Interdepartmental Purchase Request) was quite challenging, but we found the milCloud team was very responsive in helping us accomplish the task so we could continue to move forward,” she said. “I provided them feedback on the issue we faced and know that the process has now been improved and anyone who follows will discover a smoother process.”

At this point, once DTIC receives the authorization to implement, they will launch a pilot of one of their complex applications, Chason said.

“We look forward to working with the triage team as they continue to look for more applications that are good candidates for the migration.”

Jason Martin, DISA’s services executive, acknowledged the complexity of the migration process, but also offered reassurance that DISA will help mission partners get to the desired end state.

“If you have questions, reach out to our folks. They are dedicated to helping you,” he said. “They are there to help you get to the end goal. Ultimately, our job, as taxpayers, and fiscally responsible DOD employees, is to lower costs. That is the whole intent, to save tax dollars in the DOD so the funds can be returned to the warfighter.”



Posted August 21, 2018