While the U.S. Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community have been somewhat late to the game regarding cloud storage, they’re making bigger strides now and realizing the value not just from an economics point of view but from an overall performance and time-to-insight perspective.

Government agencies have been exploring cloud options for a while now, primarily from a cost savings perspective. Their interest got a lot more urgent as budgets continue to dry up, and agencies need options to stretch their data storage dollar further.  What they are discovering in the process is that the cloud is not only substantially more efficient, it offers some real benefits to agencies that need to share information and collaborate on intelligence gathering.

Cloud, or object storage, allows agencies to share data and collaborate across a multi-domain architecture based on agency authentication policy and access rights.  For instance, one agency could gather imagery of suspected enemy troop movement, put it in their cloud domain, and then replicate it to multiple agency domains. At that point, it could be analyzed and appended with additional information from other sources, and then shared with analysts in other agencies spanning multiple domains.  This level of collaboration substantially increases the ability of agencies to utilize information and make informed decisions more quickly.

An object storage platform like DDN’s Web Object Scaler (WOS) solution is the type of technology specifically designed for the purpose of collaboration and at a fraction of the cost of what it would be on traditional block storage systems. I’m no marketing wizard by any stretch of the imagination, but I think “better, faster, cheaper” may resonate with agencies struggling with limited dollars but significant data intelligence needs.

The next questions that agencies need to consider include:

  • How do we guarantee data security, and maintain encryption or other policies as data gets transferred from one cloud to the next?
  • How can a cloud storage solution reduce latency and accelerate applications or analytics?
  • Which patterns or integrators can help implement such a solution?

I’m going to be presenting at the NAB Show on Tuesday, April 9, N249 North Hall at the Las Vegas Convention Center where I hope to answer some of these questions.  Fortunately, the industry is already starting to implement some real world solutions to help agencies. One good example is the YottaDrive, a fully enabled cloud storage container, from YottaStor. The YottaDrive uses DDN’s WOS solution to capture, store and distribute large volumes of intelligence and surveillance sensor data, up to 10 Petabytes.

And this is just the beginning.  As the government gets more comfortable with cloud storage, we’ll see more and more integrators leverage this type of technology to help agencies solve more problems.  What are some of the problems you hope that cloud storage will solve for you?

  • Randy Kreiser
  • Senior Technical Advisor
  • Date: April 5, 2013