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Cloud brings benefits to users

Cloud brings benefits to users

Cloud One is a common development, test and production computing environment that is stable and secure for Air Force mission applications. (U.S. Air Force graphic)

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – A team here in the Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence and Networks Directorate is working to support the Air Force Service Acquisition Executive’s initiative of a Digital Air Force with its Cloud One project.

Cloud One is a common development, test and production computing environment that is stable and secure for Air Force mission applications. It also offers tools that can help reduce costs for software development.

“Previously, Air Force personnel were entering the cloud in a variety of different ways and traditionally providing their own vendor,” said Donna Arsenault, Cloud One Kickstart Team program manager. “We want to be that first entry point into the cloud, so personnel can understand what it is and how to use it.”

With Cloud One, the requirements are already in place and app developers and producers can use either of the vendors that the C3I&N Directorate currently has on contract, Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services clouds, depending on their needs.

Cloud One Program Manager Maj. Joseph Dolce said that Cloud One offers a significant benefit to users because “the Authority to Operate, or ATO, is already in place so mission app owners don’t have to worry about security requirements as they are already in place.”

He added that application developers don’t have to worry about infrastructure or many security requirements, ensuring that “users can focus on their mission.”

Dolce went on to say that Cloud One uses a Risk Management Framework process, allowing applications to inherit common infrastructure and services, reducing costs. The cloud also allows cost-based usage, which is another way users can reduce their costs instead of maintaining hardware to host their applications.

Currently the program has 37 apps running with an additional 90 in all different stages of integration that the team is working to transition.

Migrated apps get nearly unlimited compute-and-store capacity, improved reliability and easier loading of security patches and code deployments. And for the Air Force overall, using the cloud will also provide data center optimization by consolidating and sunsetting some centers.

“When we’ve been doing the patches and upgrades, there has been no down time,” said Arsenault. “And as we move apps into the cloud, the Air Force will have a smaller footprint.”

Program officials said for the most part up to now, they have been supporting business enterprise systems, so it will be an evolution as they work more with weapon system program offices and the Air Force software factories.

According to Capt. Austen Bryan, Platform One operations officer, the C3I&N LevelUp team in San Antonio has been working with the Cloud One program office since the summer to design architecture to support DevSecOps.

“We are partnering with Cloud One to use as Infrastructure as a Service,” he said. “We are seeing benefits from inherited security controls that we don’t have to redo ourselves, which saves us time and money.”

Bryan also commented that by inheriting these security controls, it helps LevelUp speed delivery to its users.

The Cloud One team is holding roadshow events quarterly across the Air Force and held one here at Hanscom on Sept. 5 and one at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, Nov. 13. An introduction session and new in-depth Cloud One Bootcamp will take place in the vicinity of Joint Base San Antonio and Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, the week of Jan. 27 to coincide with Air Force Life Cycle Management Center Focus Week. More information on these events will be available on the Cloud One website at https://intelshare.intelink.gov/sites/afcce/Pages/Home.aspx and pre-registration is encouraged in AcqNow.

“We want to be the Air Force provider for state-of-the-art cloud computing platforms, technologies, approaches and solutions,” said Dolce.