The most anticipated talk of the day, at the Cloud Computing Conference and Expo, was by the deputy CIO of the CIA, Jill Sanger. Her talk was entitled, Enterprise Cloud Computing, the Infrastructure’s Final Revenge.
She acknowledged the problem with defining Cloud Computing, and then went on to give her paragraph-length definition of “the cloud”. Her talk focused on the part of the Cloud behind the firewall.
“Today’s CIO must increase the flexibility of the infrastructure,” said Sanger. “Today’s CIO must manage cost to free dollars for [other purposes] …and work to improve the competitiveness of the larger organization.”
“Faster, Better, Cheaper, and Safer” was the overall theme of her talk, and she pointed out that the good CIO should be able to get all four out of a cloud computing environment.
She then made parallels between an adaptable businesses and the various arms of business, comparing the business that responds to new realities quickly to FEMA, and businesses which reach out to customers in need like the US Department of State responding is with aid to countries that experience earthquakes and tsunamis.
She then followed with a definitions of clouds within clouds: “You need a storage cloud and a compute cloud on top of your network cloud,” said Sanger. All of this needs to be build on top of world-class processes and governance.
The CIA had been heading to an enterprise cloud whether it knew it or not. The agency, said Sanger, has also been working on evolving an SOA architecture for 7 years. Gartner first published the notion of SOA back in 2003, which implies that the CIA was a very early adopter of the set of architectural principles.
Sanger focused on IT, but occasionally her CIA background came through. “The internet is the most perilous of attack vectors,” she said. She also used government-speak by using words like “Exfiltration,” which is the leaking of data outside an organization.
In a talk filled with cloud boosterism, Sanger was asked about what happens after the “cloud” craze. She mentioned that they have been talking about “cloud” for about 18 months and the Cloud craze has not run its course, and will likely be around for at least another 18 months. She offered no indication as to what the CIA might use as an infrastructural organizing principle after cloud mania has run it’s course.