Agile platform gives Army division a fast track to the cloud

The Army’s Architecture Services Division within the Software Engineering Center has deployed a platform designed for the rapid development and migration of applications to a private cloud.

SEC, part of the Army’s Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM), is licensing OutSystems’ Agile Platform, which supports the development of enterprise applications, whether they are in the cloud or on-premise.

The Agile Platform is a platform-as-a-service infrastructure that works out of the box and can be easily deployed within the Army’s new private cloud environment, said Paulo Rosado, CEO of OutSystems.

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The platform provides the Army “with the speed to delivery and platform-as-a-service capabilities needed to power our private cloud,” said Farry Philippe-Auguste, chief architect at the Architecture Services Division of CECOM’s Software Engineering Center.

Many federal agencies are moving applications to private clouds, which are cloud computing infrastructures provisioned for exclusive use by a single organization comprising multiple business units. Private clouds can be owned, managed and operated by the organization, a third party or some combination of them, and can exist on or off premises.

The development of cloud-ready applications is becoming increasingly important as federal agencies move operations to cloud computing platforms, whether the infrastructure is a private, public, community or hybrid cloud.

One of the big cloud myths is that agencies can sign contracts with cloud providers and “all of their allocations will magically move to the cloud tomorrow. That’s not true,” said Wolf Tombe, chief technology officer of the Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Information Technology,

“You have to plan for your application migration,” Tombe told a Washington, D.C., audience recently at a cloud computing conference hosted by GTSI and Federal Computer Week, GCN's sister publication.

“You have to want to make sure that your apps are cloud-ready and will run in the cloud and take advantage of cloud," he said. That means agencies must have a good application architecture that is designed for distributed, high-availability application development.

Agile Platform’s model-driven development approach can scale and deliver applications in a large, complex environment, such as the Army’s private cloud, OutSystems’ Rosado said.

The Agile Platform’s first test was a project to migrate a complex existing system to the cloud infrastructure. The system initially required two-and-a-half years to develop and deploy. By using Agile Platform, developers were able to re-deliver the application in only 16 weeks while adding new features, including a mobile interface, OutSystems officials said. The final application went to production in early November 2011.

Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service-provider interaction.

The computing model has three service delivery models, one of which, platform-as-a-service, is considered the next cloud wave. PaaS makes it easier to create and implement software by enabling the consumer to deploy onto cloud infrastructure consumer-created or acquired applications created using programming languages and tools supported by the cloud provider.

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.


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