Home' Defense Systems : November 2012 Contents SPONSORED CONTENT TO DEFENSE SYSTEMS
T he cloud is not a one-size-fits-all commodity or
product. Getting the cloud infrastructure you
need---one that fits different layers of requirements,
access and performance levels---works best when the
government deals directly with a cloud provider that has a
full set of capabilities, technologies and expertise. A good
cloud provider, like CenturyLink, can work with you to
build a system that is customized and flexible, based on your
With enterprise-grade infrastructure and access
to enterprise-grade manufacturers and vendors, an
experienced cloud provider knows how to make all of
your systems and equipment work together
seamlessly. A good cloud provider should
also have the expertise to know when you
can use a less expensive public-facing
infrastructure for less sensitive information,
and when you need more protection, or
private clouds, for secure data.
As is the case with any technology, standards
are critical when it comes to cloud offerings.
Traditionally, standards develop faster when
government works with industry to identify the
critical drivers. That method will encourage the
adoption of cloud standards as well.
It's also a misconception that all systems
must be fully compatible with all other
systems. What is important is that the
data can be understood, used on all systems and moved
between systems easily. For example, Cisco equipment
isn't interoperable with Avaya, but that doesn't mean that
you need a broker in the middle to determine how to build
a network. A simple protocol allows the data to move
from one network to another. The same is true with cloud
technology. In other words, it's the data that matters---not
Future innovation depends on how well cloud providers
do their jobs and how quickly standardization evolves.
Both of those events are, and should be, fueled by market
forces and driven by end user requirements. The need for
customized solutions based on those end user requirements
is what spurs vendors to keep innovating.
Performance-based contracts are another great way to
keep innovation flowing. Once an agency describes its
requirements to cloud vendors like CenturyLink, industry
providers will instinctively develop innovative solutions to
solve those needs.
Do you really need a broker?
While cloud computing clearly provides many benefits,
government's growing use of the cloud makes governance,
secure collaboration, standardization and interoperability
critically important issues. For the defense
community, the Defense Information
Systems Agency (DISA) addresses these
issues by functioning as a cloud broker.
In that capacity, DISA is responsible for
ensuring the interoperability of cloud
functions among vendors.
DISA's approach to cloud brokerage is a
sound one for both government and industry.
It should help foster interoperability
between cloud vendors and systems by
working directly with industry providers,
like CenturyLink to make it happen.
"We're at the same crossroads with the
cloud that we were 20 years ago with the
telecommunications industry, where there was
no common protocol to make everything work together,"
says Diana Gowen, senior vice president and general
manager for CenturyLink Government. "Eventually,
industry built the interfaces that would allow for common
interoperability among telecommunications providers.
That's what's happening in every area, from cybersecurity
to common monitoring and optical switching. And that's
what's going to happen with the cloud."
When designed and implemented properly, DISA's cloud
brokerage model will support the cloud ecosystem and
advocate for it, thus fostering ongoing innovation---
something government desperately needs.
For more information about CenturyLink Government s services and
offerings, please contact your agency s representative or email us at
For more information on CenturyLink, please go to: CenturyLink.com/federal
Making the Most of the Cloud
Sr. Vice President and General
Manager, CenturyLink Public Sector
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