Jun 22 2015

Survey: DOD Wants to Build in the Cloud

Defense and intel employees prefer building new applications in the cloud over migrating legacy systems.

Going forward, technology professionals inside the Department of Defense would rather build new applications in the cloud than migrate existing applications, according to a new report from MeriTalk, underwritten by General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT).

In an online survey of 150 IT professionals working in either the Defense Department or the government’s intelligence agencies, 52 percent of respondents said that building new in the cloud is the best long-term move, while 18 percent advocated for migrating legacy applications.

This is in contrast to how the Pentagon currently operates in the cloud. Survey respondents said 57 percent of the department’s cloud applications have migrated from legacy systems, and 43 percent have been built new — but that is expected to shift.

“Both approaches — migrating legacy applications and building new in the cloud — have their merits and their place,” Stanley Tyliszczak, vice president of technology integration and chief engineer at GDIT, said in a released statement. “Against the backdrop of tight budgets, agencies must take time to complete a full analysis of each application’s needs before pulling the trigger to ensure they make the best decision from a cost and performance perspective.”

The report notes that defense agencies would like to move 57 percent of their applications to the cloud over the next six years, but the budget is inadequate: The respondents said the department’s finances will allow only 24 percent of applications to make the transition in that time period.

Part of the transition includes the steps that defense agencies take before moving an application: 69 percent of respondents said their office does a complete security analysis or review; 65 percent assess computing, network and storage needs; and 57 percent complete a workload analysis.

The biggest challenges to moving to the cloud include lack of funding (43 percent), integration challenges (41 percent) and length of time to develop requirements and launch (34 percent), the report states.

“When it comes to cloud, it appears you can’t have it all,” said Steve O’Keeffe, founder of MeriTalk, in a released statement. “Tight budgets require tough decisions — agencies must prioritize apps that will move the needle rather than just batting down the low-hanging fruit. Building new will allow them to drop a lot of legacy baggage for greater agility.”


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