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Government, Industry Seek Similar Cloud Solutions

The federal sector is becoming more comfortable with commercial approaches.
Panelists discussing cloud computing at TechNet Indo-Pacific are (l-r) moderator Lt. Gen. Susan Lawrence, USA (Ret.), AFCEA president and CEO; Bill Burnham, Hewlett Packard Enterprise; Boris Kilimnik, Juniper Networks; James T. Matney, GDIT; and Angel Smith, Microsoft. Credit: Dave Livingston photo

Panelists discussing cloud computing at TechNet Indo-Pacific are (l-r) moderator Lt. Gen. Susan Lawrence, USA (Ret.), AFCEA president and CEO; Bill Burnham, Hewlett Packard Enterprise; Boris Kilimnik, Juniper Networks; James T. Matney, GDIT; and Angel Smith, Microsoft. Credit: Dave Livingston photo

Advances in cloud capabilities are opening new vistas for government and industry, but both are dealing with uncertainties in both their goals and their approaches to achieve them. The federal government, with more stringent restraints on cloud operations, is looking to work with the private sector as both face similar challenges to their cloud aspirations.

These were among the many points discussed at an industry panel on the first day of TechNet Indo-Pacific, being held in Honolulu April 11-13. Titled “What Cloud Technologies Can Industry Offer to Enable the Department of Defense to Move From Data to Dominance,” the panel topic focused on a key element of the conference’s theme of “From Data to Dominance.”

Bill Burnham, chief technology officer, U.S. Public Sector, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, offered a definition of the state of government and industry pursuit of cloud issues. “We are seeing heavy investment [in the private sector] to help the Department of Defense get from data to dominance,” he said. “And, where we’re seeing huge investment in the private sector is edge computing.

“Cloud edge technology is now a reality, and the defense sector is beginning to take advantage of that,” he declared.

Boris Kilimnik, federal sales director at Juniper Networks, offered that government is working with the private sector to a greater degree to realize cloud goals. “More and more, I have seen government being able to start to investigate these new technologies in a way that is collaborative with industry,” he observed.

That includes a new approach to edge computing and the cloud. “Being able to flip the script on the cloud—start at the edge and work toward the enterprise instead of the other way around—is really critical,” he declared.

Burnham noted, “In the private sector today, the term is secure hybrid multicloud. It is hard to get there today,” he added. Kilimnik suggested that software-defined wide area network (SD WAN) technology provides a Waze- or Google Maps-type capability across the network. And, Burnham pointed out, a lot of this data is too big to move or there are laws against moving it. To address that, private industry has created a smart data fabric approach.

Not all panelists believe the solution lies in the ultimate cloud evolution. Angel Smith, partner, Mission Solutions & Customer Expansion at Microsoft, stated that multiple clouds are the best approach. “I want to give our adversary a targeting problem,” she stated. “I want to give him three or four clouds to aim at. And, I want that level of redundancy and complexity.”

Overall, spending on cloud/edge computing has increased. “The investment to move from data to dominance has been hitting the market now for about one or two years,” Burnham said. Smith added that her company has determined that the best path to connect with the Defense Department is to go through partners.

But while all cloud developers are counting on advances in artificial intelligence (AI) to make cloud use more effective, pitfalls remain, particularly in data security. “You can’t trust your AI if you can’t trust your data, and you can’t trust your data if you can’t trust its pedigree,” Burnham declared.