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GCN : May 2013
GCN MAY 2013 • GCN.COM 29 large-scale migration (See sidebar). "Cycle one was all about exploring if this infrastructure could be built in a reason- able amount of time and provided within a cost and management model that could be deployed," said Kevin Jackson, NJVC's vice president and general manager of cloud services. Other team members include Boe- ing, which provides geo services through OpenGeo's software suite along with some Google geospatial capabilities; Aerospace Corp, which provides an OpenStack-based cloud and a virtual organization manage- ment system; and the Open Geospatial Consortium, which is monitoring and of- fering advice on the use of OGC-based standards during the demonstration. Aerospace's role is important because virtual organization technology is needed to manage groups of teams that are le- veraging the cloud infrastructure and the data that is being used, and because of its use of OpenStack, Jackson said. "The OpenStack component was a re- quest I provided to the NCOIC partici- pants," said NGA's Myers. NGA wanted OpenStack in the design pattern to ensure all geospatial data would be stored in the object-based storage environment so that everything can be consumed as a standard Open Geospatial Consortium service, he explained. Some of the biggest interoperability challenges are the different data formats, system disparities and communication gaps in terms of semantics, said Roger Ber- nhardt, a business developer with Boeing's Research and Technology Engineering Op- erations. "What we are trying to do is assemble a demonstration that wraps services as data translators," creating geospatial interoper- ability by translating to standards and data formats, Bernhardt said. "It is a small-scale effort at this time. We can't claim to have solved the problem," he said. PLUGGING INTO CLOUD The first phase of the project, on a very rudimentary level, is a service architec- ture that supports a suite of data transla- tors. Boeing has begun to wrap these data translators into its geospatial data servers. Theoretically, other geospatial servers added to the infrastructure can use the suite of translators, giving people the in- teroperability they seek, Bernhardt said. This first phase of the project has been successfully completed. The second phase involves developing applications that will reside on the cloud infrastructure. NCOIC, a collaboration of leading aerospace, de- fense, information technology, large-scale integrator and services industries, has put out a call among members for the applica- tions. During the second cycle, NCOIC mem- bers will plug into the cloud and use the geospatial data to activate unique, some- times proprietary, applications that dem- onstrate end-user capabilities. An example could be rescue workers, firefighters, hos- pital personnel or even bankers trying to reconstitute a financial system, NCOIC of- ficials said. The demonstration will be conducted in July or August for NATO, NGA and other Defense Department agencies, Jackson said. The most likely deliverable from the exercise is a white paper that will describe how emergency response organizations can build a geospatial community cloud in a short period of time --- renting the infra- structure when it's needed and shutting it down afterwards. "The [demonstration] infrastructure will be torn down, but essentially, it would be easy to bring it back together again," Jackson said. • NJVC has unveiled a multi-cloud broker service for the federal government that will let agencies try, design and price an array of services from cloud providers before spending money and committing to large-scale migration. The Cloudcuity Management Portal lets agencies compare key differences and features among cloud service providers, such as security, service-level agreements and cost, according to Kevin Jackson, vice president and general manager for cloud services with NJVC. NJVC provides IT consulting and managed services to government agencies, particularly those in the defense and intelligence arena. By testing applications for suit- ability in the cloud, the typical costs and ine ciencies associated with migrating untested applications to the cloud can be alleviated, Jackson said. The underlying technology behind the Cloudcuity Management Portal is a unified cloud lifecycle management platform, cloudMatrix, developed by Gravitant. CloudMatrix has already been applied successfully by the Texas in its multi-year cloud computing pilot project. Through the use of a self-service, virtual private cloud por- tal, four Texas agencies were able to provision, manage and support every phase of their cloud services from a marketplace of providers. The Cloudcuity portal includes tools that users can leverage to determine if their application workloads are ready for the cloud, Jackson noted. Some applications such as collaboration and customer relationship manage- ment systems might be easier to migrate to the cloud compared to an enterprise resource management system, Jackson explained. For instance, using a capability called Cloud Screen, users can put in information about their IT envi- ronments, such as how many users they have, what types of technology are they using or whether they are licensing physical or virtual machines. NJVC is a broker, not a cloud ser- vices provider, so it is important to give agencies tools with compatible and consistent metrics to let users compare services, Jackson said. An electronic services catalog allows users to select and design a virtual data center in which they can simu- late the cost of a particular cloud service per month. NJVC is initially offering infra- structure-as-a-service in which agencies can order virtual servers and computing resources such as storage. Future plans include the o ering of platform-as-a-service, which o ers cloud-based services for application development, design and testing; software-as-a-service, in which software and associated data are provided on-demand; and geospatial data-as-a-service. --- Rutrell Yasin ONE-STOP CLOUD MARKETPLACE FOR GOVERNMENT