by clicking on the page. A slider will appear, allowing you to adjust your zoom level. Return to the original size by clicking on the page again.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider on the top right.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field and click on "In This Issue" or "All Issues" to search the current issue or the archive of back issues respectively.
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
this publication and page.
displays a table of sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays thumbnails of every page in the issue. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse through every available issue.
GCN : August 2014
SHARED IT SERVICES "We were doing day-to-day firefighting" to keep the systems up and running, and many of the servers were nearing their end-of-life," said John Rogers, deputy com- mander of the Air Force s 844th Communi- cations Group. "We were at a crossroads," he said. The group had to either buy more servers or find a more efficient solution. Choosing the best path depended on ad- dressing head-on the limitations of its cur- rent infrastructure: Servers are expensive to buy and to operate. Each is assigned to a single user and typically operates at 10 to 15 percent capacity. But excess capacity cannot be reassigned or easily shared, re- sulting in wasted resources. The 844th set out to create a stable, se- cure environment that was simplified, scal- able and in line with the Defense Depart- ment s Joint Information Environment, a construct comprising a single security architecture with a shared IT infrastruc- ture and enterprise services. The result is the Air Force National Capital Region (AFNCR) Shared Computing Environment (SCE). "I don t call it a cloud," Rogers said. "I call it a shared environment where I pro- vide platform as a service." Started in late 2012 with Lockheed Mar- tin as the prime contractor, the SCE now is winding up the second of four deployment phases. So far, it has delivered the cost ef- ficiency hoped for and some of the im- provement in quality of service. In coming phases, the Air Force hopes to improve busi- ness agility as the environment moves to software defined networking and storage. The AFNCR s IT department supports 20,000 customers at 25 locations in the Washington, D.C., area. To serve them, the SCE has mirrored sites at Andrews and Bolling Air Force bases, using EMC VPLEX and VMware Storage vMotion to enable movement of data from virtual machine to virtual machine and across arrays and sites. Both NIPRNet (Nonsecure IP Router Network) and SIPRNet (Secure IP Router Network) are housed in each of the sites, which Rogers said was something of a feat. "There are some challenges for how you secure it," he said of the classified SIPRNet servers. But the shared environment pro- vides greater security because there no longer is a client hard drive to secure. The first phase of the SCE program, to build and consolidate, began in October 2012 and was completed the following June. The Air Force shut down 400 end- of-life servers and replaced them with a shared environment, generating an im- mediate savings in capital expenses. The second phase of the program, load balancing, is now in progress and is ex- pected to be completed in October. This will provide self-service provisioning and reduce the number of systems administra- tors needed from 20 to five. Configuration management is a key element in administrative efficiency and security. Limiting variation in the virtual machine pools and closely controlling who is allowed to make changes ensures a con- sistent and reliable stack, which improves stability and security. The third phase of the program, called hyper convergence, will reduce latency and increase efficiency by moving to a non- blocking architecture, in which switches will handle maximum transfer rates from all ports. In the final phase, the SCE will focus on software defined networking and stor- age, which is expected to enable more effi- cient management through the abstraction of some functions. Storage will be provid- ed by random access memory rather than spinning disk drives. It is too early for a timetable on the final phase, Rogers said. "I know the technology we want to install, but I don t know what the technology will be when I get there." He said he hopes to begin work on specifi- cations by mid-2015. • The Air Force's 844th sets out to create a stable environment that is simplified, scalable and in line with DOD's Joint Information Environment USAF builds secure IT ight deck BY WILLIAM JACKSON 28 GCN AUGUST 2014 • GCN.COM "I don't call it a cloud. I call it a shared environment where I provide platform as a service." -- JOHN ROGERS, DEPUTY COMMANDER OF THE AIR FORCE'S 844TH