The high costs of operating, securing and maintaining a large variety of often redundant legacy stove-piped networks has steered the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) toward mature commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) technology. Cloud computing will enable the DoD to share servers, storage devices and applications to save resources and time. The military can maximize the potential of network-centric warfare and enhance collaboration by using commercially successful service oriented architectures to provide software and applications within a private cloud.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan’s (aerospace.frost.com) Analysis of the U.S. Department of Defense Cloud Computing Market research finds that the DoD’s cloud spending will grow from $676 million in 2011 to reach $740 million in 2016 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3 percent.
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Operational imperatives are also driving the DoD toward the cloud concept because of the unconventional nature of counter-insurgency and counter-terror warfare. Secure and seamless data sharing across different platforms gives warfighters a powerful operational and training resource.
Mature, commercial cloud technologies have been used in many segments of the military due to their benefits of cost savings, faster fielding times, and ease of upgrades. Nevertheless, as military networks become more dependent on network collaboration, cyber attacks have rapidly increased in numbers and sophistication. Additionally, cloud computing systems open to the commercial Internet are vulnerable to hackers.
Closed intranets with higher levels of security are much safer, but the DoD’s recent negative experiences with WikiLeaks and foreign hacking highlight the necessity of solid security—even for internal networks. Until standardized architectures are more widely employed and the DoD is confident that the network and data storage available through cloud services is secure, cloud computing is unlikely to experience widespread implementation.
"Industry standards-based clouds can enable the DoD to permanently eliminate the IT generational gap between legacy and state-of-the-art commercial technology," said Frost & Sullivan Senior Research Analyst Brad Curran. "In addition, clouds will cut response time and simplify engineering, integration and training while lowering costs and allowing the DoD to commoditize many parts of network security."
However, the DoD’s mandate to migrate to Internet protocol (IP) version 6 (v6) is incomplete and behind schedule. Moreover, there are many structural limitations to proprietary networks. Cloud computing’s inherent cost advantages will be offset by its attendant cultural and security requirements. In such a scenario, technologies and services that ensure reliable network security and cloud computing are expected to demonstrate rapid growth. The DoD will lay emphasis on sophisticated networking systems that can be upgraded as newer technologies appear.
"Specific cloud programs and contracts will remain rare, but existing programs will continue to be modified to meet the requirement to maximize cloud computing technologies," said Curran. "This will allow them to be applied to the existing networks till 2016, when the cost and operational benefits will become apparent and upgrades and integration will be faster and cheaper."
Analysis of the U.S. Department of Defense Cloud Computing Market is part of the Defense Growth Partnership Services program, which also includes research in the following markets: commercial aviation, military aviation, homeland security, and the DoD budget. All research services included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.
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Analysis of the U.S. Department of Defense Cloud Computing Market / NA9B-16