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FCW : April 30, 2014
Although federal agencies might choose to subscribe to a cloud provider s DaaS tool, others will offer their own DaaS solutions. Grant said he has seen increasing interest among Defense Department organizations in using VMware s multitenant desktop virtualization platform at their own data centers. Those organizations act as service providers by offering DaaS in a private cloud behind their rewalls, he added. The Army s Information Technology Agency is taking on the DaaS provider role as it installs 2,000 unclassi ed and 2,000 classi ed DaaS stations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Thomas Sasala, ITA s chief technology of cer, said ITA deployed the hardware and software for the back-end infrastructure, while the Joint Chiefs command, control, communications and computers/cyber division is handling the deployment on the client end. Sasala said virtual desktops are already easing his agen- cy s administrative and security compliance tasks. "With the VDI implementation, we patch the master image and recompose the desktops over...one evening, reaching 100 percent compliance in under 24 hours," Sasala said. "This reduces the time 50 [to] 95 percent sometimes, thus result- ing in a signi cant labor savings." The hurdles With cloud-based services, the primary obstacles to fed- eral acceptance tend to be security, security and security. Industry executives say that is the case with DaaS. Agen- cies want assurance that vendors can keep cloud-hosted desktops safe, and they are likely to rely on Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) cer- ti cation to give them that peace of mind. "I feel the big driver that could make DaaS very appeal- ing down the road is FedRAMP and cloud certi cation of security," said Matt Brooks, senior director of federal sales at Hitachi Data Systems Federal. Vendors are already moving in that direction. In March, VMware announced that it was seeking FedRAMP s author- ity to operate for the hybrid cloud service it is bringing to market with Carpathia. Around the same time, Amazon Web Services said all four of its infrastructure regions in the U.S. --- including GovCloud --- had received provi- sional authorization under DOD s Cloud Security Model for Impact Levels 1 and 2, which cover unclassi ed public and unclassi ed private information. Achieving authori- zation under DOD s model requires adhering to security controls beyond FedRAMP s baseline standards. Amazon Web Services DaaS offering is not covered under the DOD provisional authorization, and DaaS has yet to debut on the VMware/Carpathia hybrid cloud service. Agencies planning to build their own DaaS offerings face another hurdle: coming up with an end-to-end solu- tion that works. "A full solution will most likely encompass a combina- tion of both hardware and software from many different vendors that need to function as one," said Ken Liska, a virtualization specialist at NetApp U.S. Public Sector. "Finding a pre-validated solution that has been jointly architected by multiple vendors is highly recommended, as it can save huge amounts of time both upfront and after deployment." ■ 30 April 30, 2014 FCW.COM ExecTe c h Advice for creating your own DaaS tool For agencies that are considering becoming desktop-as-a-service providers, here are a few tips from Thomas Sasala, chief technology of cer at the Army s Information Technology Agency: • Obtain commitment. A successful DaaS deploy- ment requires unwavering organizational commit- ment, senior leaders continual involvement and a close attention to detail. • Be prepared to manage change. Most of the resistance to ITA s DaaS initiative came from skep- tics who were in charge of the current environ- ment and were unwilling to embrace change. • Engage all stakeholders. DaaS is generally an IT activity, but adopters should not forget their users needs and perceptions. Regular forums can spark engagement and create support for DaaS. • Learn from others. Agencies should talk to feds who have already adopted DaaS before they start their own project --- and continue those conversa- tions throughout the process. • Use a proven design. Rather than starting from scratch, agencies should tailor a successful DaaS design to their environments. That approach will minimize integration issues and let agencies focus on their speci c needs. --- John Moore
April 15, 2014
May 15, 2014