Army moving enterprise apps to core data centers

The migration also involves removing unused and redundant applications.

Data center Army

In line with its data center consolidation plan started three years ago, the Army has begun moving its enterprise systems and applications to designated core data centers.

The migration represents the first step in establishing policies and procedures for the centralization of data hosting, according to an Army release. The entire migration is slated to be completed by the end of fiscal 2018.

The Army’s data center consolidation plan was rolled out in 2011 and has resulted with the shuttering of 165 data centers, Federal News Radio reports.

The plan has continued to evolve with a focus on Defense Department-wide core data centers. Guidance provided by former DOD CIO Teri Takai allowed the military services to operate data centers on their bases under the Joint Information Environment—if the applications involved were specific to the service or a mission. For example, special-purpose apps used to run research labs or medical equipment will remain on-base.

Meanwhile, enterprise applications, or software designed to solve enterprise-wide problems, would be migrated to core data centers operated by the Defense Information Systems Agency. Doing so could allow increased bandwidth and better access to applications.

One example, the Army said, is the migration of the Structured Self-Development System, a distance learning app that was moved from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., to the enterprise level. The move improved user access by increasing bandwidth, Neal Shelley, chief of the Army Data Center Consolidation Division, said in the Army release. Before the migration, a narrow pipeline connected the base with the rest of the Army and potential break points existed. Enterprise management is making the app more secure, robust and reliable, Shelley said.

The migration involves some house cleaning—the Army will also remove unused applications that are still on computers and servers. The end result is that the service saves money on licensing fees and upgrades, while increasing economy of scale and reducing the potential for malware. About 800 applications have been discontinued, out of a total of 11,000 Army apps.

The Army also is looking to eliminate redundant apps, replacing them with standardized, best-of-breed apps for further savings. This effort would involve the migration of data collected from old apps and consultation with users for consistency, as well as just figuring out what apps the Army has in stock.

The Army expects to save money from the migration in general, but just how much is difficult to calculate. The Army’s migration to a single, DISA-supported enterprise email in 2013 resulted in $76 million in savings for that fiscal year, and projected savings of $380 million through 2017.