The Defense Intelligence Agency’s (DIA) 2015 Department of Defense Intelligence Information Systems (DoDIIS) Worldwide Conference was held last week in San Antonio, TX. The conference, themed “Accelerating Intelligence Integration-Powered by Innovation & Technology,” brought together many knowledgeable speakers and attendees from the defense and intelligence communities, industry and government to share the ways in which cloud technologies can improve upon business processes and improve on mission delivery. In addition to the plenary speakers, there were a number of breakout sessions highlighting specific industry innovations.

In an effort to hone in on some of the key conference takeaways, the editorial team at GovDataDownload reached out to Tom Yarmas- Business Solution Architect for Cloud Computing at Netapp- for insight into the conference as well as the hottest trends CIOs are currently exploring.

Keep reading below to see what Tom had to say:

GovDataDownload (GDD): You’re just back from DoDIIS Worldwide, how was the event?

Tom Yarmas

Tom Yarmas (TY): The event this year was spectacular. I always anticipate a good event when attending DoDIIS Worldwide, but this year the event was especially helpful with keen insight into the CIO perspective.

For instance, I had the opportunity to speak with Janice Glover- Jones, CIO for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and hear first hand about some of the key priorities for the DIA. It was also quite a treat to hear James Harris, the new CTO for DIA, speak as well.

Ultimately, it is interacting with individuals such as those that is the true benefit of attending DoDIIS year after year. Gaining and understanding the CIO perspective is pivotal to successful change.

GDD: What were some of the key themes/talks that captured attendees’ attention?

TY: The theme of the show was “Accelerating Intelligence Integration-Powered by Innovation & Technology.” Ultimately, the show was really all about cloud. Cloud is a whole different way of doing business. At NetApp, we’re here to make sure agencies transitioning data and systems to the cloud are equipped with solutions that meet their technology and budget needs –both now and for the long term and that their transition is as smooth as possible

For example, Insight, NetApp’s annual technical conference for storage and data management professionals, has aided intelligence agencies and the community in sharing information for effective resource management. As a result, there was a great deal of excitement around the upcoming 2015 Insight and the DoDIIS application engine that’s been designed for building applications for, and within, the cloud.

It was wonderful to see and experience how the new DoDIIS application works, and how agencies and CIOs can utilize the platform.

GDD: What are some of the challenges that the defense and intelligence communities are facing?

TY: When working in IT, there are always technical challenges. At NetApp, it’s our job to help the end user get through those challenges and enable them to be a more effective end user.

However, moving forward, the biggest challenge for the community is the current work culture and convincing employees and leaders that embracing a different way of doing things is the key to success in IT innovation.

The challenge from a technical perspective is the sheer amount of data that must be managed. There’s so much data that moving, managing, and protecting that data is a monumental task. You can’t just pick it all up and put it in the cloud. To combat this issue, many IT professionals and CIOs are working to reduce the number of applications being used and streamlining what data and which applications move to the cloud.

There are also a number of challenges in rewriting applications. Yet, we have been helping end users wrap their minds and arms around rewrites as well as data management issues to provide viable, effective solutions.
While the biggest challenge can be the work culture, there are certainly technical challenges; as a result, data movement and application management must be top of mind.

GDD: How is IT helping solve these challenges?

TY: Cloud is an evolution of computing and represents a new way of doing the day-to-day so it presents an ideal opportunity to revise business processes and to have our customers ask questions about how they are using and accessing their data as well as how data relates to achieving mission goals. Because cloud is an extremely resource-efficient technology, it allows agencies to pinpoint areas where they can use resources more effectively and contain costs.

The primary motivation for the theme “accelerating integration” is being able to share useful intelligence while also being able to get access to better intelligence, while simultaneously using resources as effectively as possible. It can be quite the juggling act, keeping all of those components in line and functioning properly.

IT is really helping with a number of those challenges. With the advent of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and other advancements in cloud computing, there are now many, quick and effective options in cloud computing offering the ability to spin up clouds effortlessly. But, being able to make best use of the technology and its applications can be a challenge if end users find themselves with multiple clouds and/or phantom resources. The good news is that NetApp is here to help.

Consider NetApp’s data fabric: a data fabric is a seamless and effective way to store, manage, and protect data across multiple cloud platforms. The back-up, movement, management, and protection that data fabric offers enables end users to utilize resources as effectively as possible.

GDD: Is there anything else you’d like to share about the event, or the critical issues?

TY: I would just like to end by reiterating that the event was great!

It was fantastic to see so many distinguished professionals together from industry and government and especially learning about everything they’ve accomplished. It’s vitally important that IT leaders who are taking bold strides in deploying new technologies get together to share not only best practices and what’s gone right, but also what’s gone awry and how to rework things when experiments aren’t successful.

At the end of the day, having industry together with the public sector makes a big difference. It enables efficiency, change, innovation and critical conversations about data sharing.

Want to learn more about data movement, management and protection, click here. Curious about NetApp Insight? Click here to see the agenda for this year’s event in Las Vegas.