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U.S. Navy abandons cloud and data centre plans in favour of new strategy

Mon 18 May 2015

The U.S. Navy is planning to reassign its cloud and data centre strategies following disappointment in the progress of its consolidation initiative, according to a Federal News Radio report.

“Later this year, we will make an organizational change to our approach to data centre consolidation. The Data Center and Application Optimization (DCAO) program office will move from under Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) headquarters to under Program Executive Office-Enterprise Information Systems (PEO-EIS) as a separate entity or program office,” explained John Zangardi, the Navy’s deputy assistant secretary for command, control, computers, intelligence, information operations and space, and acting CIO.

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According to Zangardi, the move will “better align consolidation efforts with network efforts and more fully leverage the Next Generation Enterprise Network (NGEN) contract.”

“The DCAO will be responsible for establishing a working model for Navy cloud hosting service brokerage. This will be for the delivery of application hosting via commercial and federal agencies. Culturally, we have to make this shift from a mistaken belief that all our data has to be near us and somewhere where I can […] hug the server, instead of someplace where I don’t know in the cloud. This is a big shift for many within the department. It’s not going to be an easy transition,” Zangardi continued.

The secretary added that over the past three years, the U.S. Department of the Navy had consolidated 290 IT systems and applications at 45 national sites. Despite this progress he emphasised that getting bases and command offices to move faster with the new technologies was not happening at a satisfactory pace.

To boost the Navy’s data centre consolidation efforts Zangardi is implementing a four-point plan. Firstly, as outlined above, the data centre programme’s base will be moved into the PEO-EIS office from July this year.

Secondly, three of the most poorly performing data centres have been selected and are required to devise a consolidation plan.

Third, the Navy will be rationalising large-scale applications, after it had been highlighted that people had been holding their apps and servers too close. Finally, support programmes to increase agencies’ familiarity with the technologies will be introduced.

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Zangardi also called for industry support in developing the Navy’s mobility and employee device management. Currently only 3% of both uniformed and civilian workers use mobile devices, according to Thomas Hicks, deputy undersecretary of the Navy and deputy chief management officer.

Hicks argued that the governmental department needed to explore ways to “democratize the use of mobile devices,” suggesting the implementation of a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) scheme.

Vice Administrator Ted Branch, deputy chief of Naval operations for information domination and director of Naval intelligence, also added that the Navy would be looking into mobility-as-a-service options in order to drive involvement in the BYOD concept.

Branch said that the Navy has been finalising policy and management frameworks around BYOD and will be conducting a number of trials over the coming months with smartphones and tablets.

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