army-webmail

Soldiers at the Fort Stewart, Ga. Education Center work on class material and catch up on their e-mail. Enterprise e-mail for the military includes Webmail capability and 500 megabytes of online storage for Webmail accounts. (Photo: U.S. Army)

DOD Cloud Adoption Helps U.S. Troops Stay Connected

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U.S. Army soldiers lean against a mud wall during a break from combat operations in Kandahar province's southern Spin Boldak district in Afghanistan on Jan. 9, 2012. The soldiers are assigned to the 504th Battlefield Brigade's 38th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Squadron.  (DoD photo by Spc. Crystal Davis, U.S. Army.)

U.S. Army soldiers lean against a mud wall during a break from combat operations in Kandahar province in Afghanistan. The soldiers, who are deployed far from home, such as these from 504th Battlefield Brigade’s 38th Cavalry Regiment, are supported by a global IT infrastructure. (DoD photo by Spc. Crystal Davis, U.S. Army.)

Furthermore, DOD and DEE architects fully leveraged this new type of design for its reliability and redundancy. In utilizing better technologies – which are capable of better consolidation and efficiency – administrators created a truly robust system which delivers true data continuity confidence. So, when the question around system redundancy and availability arise – DISA is ready for what may come its way.

“DEE incorporates built-in redundancies and support to prevent system-wide outages,” said Alfred Rivera, Principal Director, Enterprise Services for DISA. “DISA maintains absolute command and control of all enterprise email infrastructure assets.”

“We want our warfighters to know that they have the most reliable email system available,” said Rivera. “We’ve got their back. We are providing them with the key IT and communication tools they need to conduct their day-to-day mission.”

In designing a truly redundant environment – just like with data center consolidation – there are various technologies working hard in the background. Aside from the fact that there are better switching designs and improved WAN-based connectivity – the used of global server load balancing (GSLB) and global traffic management (GTM) technologies further help direct data an information. There is the direct ability to send users to a data center based on location, the device being used, and or the workload that’s being accessed. Furthermore, if there is an outage, the user would never know. In using advanced global traffic management solutions, the user would be transparently forwarded to the next closest data center based on a set of predefined continuity or disaster recovery policies.

More Mobility and Security

In creating a more robust and efficient infrastructure, the DOD took careful notice of security and mobility. Even in the military, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and IT consumerization are important topics and technological considerations. DISA is working towards the delivery of information and content to end-points outside of the regular desktop realm. In terms of their DEE platform, this means controlling and delivering information to laptops, tablets and even smartphones.

“Mobility is another important advantage of DEE,” said John Hale, Chief, Enterprise Applications Office, at DISA. “Our BlackBerry infrastructure is one of the largest in the world with more than 80,000 users. And DEE is accessible on multiple Smartphones and tablets through the DOD Mobility pilot.”

In seeking to keep pace with commonly deployed technologies in the corporate world, the DOD is capable of delivering more workloads to more end-users. Furthermore, in using all of the technologies mentioned earlier, everything is being done on a more secure platform. Logical network controls and policies, improved security technologies and better visibility into network traffic have all improved the overall security environment for the military. Now, virtual security appliances and even next-generation security platforms are helping the DOD push forward with their technological goals. These new tools deploy intelligent engines which monitor traffic for malicious users, data loss and even the access of all physical devices. So, not only is DISA locking down itsr infrastructure, but it’s also empowering end-users by delivering more services and resources. The key difference is that there are more granular controls being deployed around this type of platform. These controls are designed to create a more seamless environment that’s easier to manage and easier to interconnect with other systems.

The data center and infrastructure environment that supports both military and global communications systems will continue to evolve. There is a greater reliance around data on-demand and the ability to correlate vast amounts of information very rapidly. Moving forward, field-based data correlation engines which tie into a central cloud infrastructure will help troops on the ground crunch real-time information even more rapidly than they can today. These types of technological advancements will not only help improve communications methods – they’ll help support the people that need it, when they need it most.

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About the Author

Bill Kleyman is a veteran, enthusiastic technologist with experience in data center design, management and deployment. His architecture work includes virtualization and cloud deployments as well as business network design and implementation. Currently, Bill works as the National Director of Strategy and Innovation at MTM Technologies, a Stamford, CT based consulting firm.

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