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Army site gives cloud migration teams a leg up

The Army Application Migration Business Office (AAMBO) launched a new public-facing website to help the Army IT community get on the same page about requirements for cloud migration. is a one-stop shop where migration stakeholders can find out how AAMBO can help them get to the cloud. Established by the Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems to provide guidance for the migration of enterprise applications, AAMBO acts as the liaison between the capability owners (those managing the systems and applications) and Defense Department-approved enterprise environment providers. It is in direct support of Network Enterprise Technology Command’s Enterprise Computing Operations Service Center.

The website offers links to details on AAMBO Lunch and Learn sessions, a current list of Army Cloud Computing Enterprise Transformation vendors, policies from the Army CIO/G-6 Policy Branch and a step-by-step process to assess cloud migration readiness. Although capability owners can’t submit data through the website, AAMBO can explain what they can expect from the process. It offers a six-step guide that includes discovery and portfolio analysis, cost-benefit analysis and migration planning and execution.

Until now, there was no single resource for capability owners to go to for information on cloud migration, said Donald Squires, a project officer at AAMBO. Everything that was available online faced internally, requiring account logins and common access cards. “We’ve known that we needed to just get general information out there about AAMBO and what we do," he said.

"The purpose of the website is to provide the overall Army community with the latest information related to cloud adoption and application migration in support of what we call the ADCCP, or the Army Data Center Consolidation Plan," he said. "It just enhances our strategic communications by providing publicly available information to the Army community.”

The website also aims to ensure that all capability owners are working with the same definition of cloud computing. The Army uses DOD’s definition, which is based on the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s description: “a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.”

“I think a lot of people have different ideas of what that means, and we try to have a common body of information for them to work from to understand what the Army believes cloud computing is,” Squires said.

Those differences in addition to the Army’s detailed requirements for cloud migration have complicated moves by the service’s entities.

“There are definitely specific challenges. A lot of those have to do with security,” Squires said. “We know that existing cloud offerings that are out there now that work well in the financial community, [for example], but the Army’s got specific requirements [and] they’re not met by the commercial cloud providers that are out there, so those are definitely challenges we face.”

Launched Nov. 30, the site was too new at press time for Squires to provide statistics on visits or feedback. Going forward, staff will update it as new guidance and information comes out from Army headquarters.

AAMBO is not an anomaly, Johanna Curry, an AAMBO project officer, said. “Most agencies have a migration support office similar to ours,” she said, and the new website can serve as a model for other agencies looking to get the word out about cloud migration processes.

About the Author

Stephanie Kanowitz is a freelance writer based in northern Virginia.

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