When the NCI Agency presented its requirements for a modernized DCIS, Microsoft gladly accepted the invitation to contribute to the development of an architecture for a modern DCIS. Microsoft is a strong believer of the power of digital transformation and this can only be achieved by partnering with customers on reimagining how one can bring together people, data, and processes to create value for the end-user and maintain a competitive advantage in a digital-first world. Every company is becoming a software company. You have to start thinking and operating like a digital company. It’s no longer just about procuring one solution and deploying one. It’s not about one simple software solution. It’s really you yourself thinking of your own future as a digital company. As warfare increasingly happens in the cyber domain and the information environment, Defence organizations need to adopt much faster than ever before the disruptive technologies like big data and artificial intelligence that are driving the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge.
To enable transformation across the various aspects of DCIS, we assembled a multi-disciplinary team to a contribute to a DCIS that is more agile, less complex and at a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) based on commercial industry best practice from other industries such as Oil&Gas and our own transition from building products to delivering a cloud experience as a service. Our team focused on delivering an Azure as-a-service experience for DCIS across multiple pillars with a strong focus on the applications – in the end it’s all about the App:
Both the “as a service” model and the approach in the DCIS should serve as a reference case to bring more agility, innovation and service model to software intensive projects in NATO acquisition approach. This is drastically needed to allow NATO and nations to embrace digital technologies rapidly in an iterative DevOps approach. The workshops for DCIS also influence and shape Microsoft’s solutions for industries such as defense as they certainly help us to better understand specific requirements and will help us to further shape innovation in the deployed environment in the future.
Today, one in four Azure virtual machines run Linux. So in the DCIS architecture, Microsoft brings a wealth of experience on supporting open source technologies offering choices that help NATO and nations maximize existing investments. Support for infrastructure as a service (IaaS) Linux, Java, and PHP Web application platforms is offered next to well know Microsoft technologies. To DCIS you can bring the tools you love and skills you already have, and run virtually any application, using your data source, with your operating system, on your device
Open source is a part of the day-to-day approach to cloud innovation and should be the same for DCIS. New container capabilities with Docker integration offer portability of workloads across clouds and platforms. And Microsoft cloud learnings are shared back to the community thanks to contributions to Linux and open source support in Azure Resource Manager and Azure Stack.
Intelligent computing with real-time analytics at the edge is a key trend going forward—and increasingly a business requirement when striving for C4ISR superiority. With new intelligent devices appearing such a UAV and drones in the context of degraded communications at the edge, the deployed missions need intelligent processing capabilities at the edge and even the device level to make real-time decisions. The shift to intelligence is all about data, and data has gravity—pulling computational power toward individual devices. They are powering advanced ways to see, listen, reason and predict, without constant connectivity to the cloud. Therefore, the DCIS architecture needs to embrace IoT concepts & architectures and evolve to a seamless experience from cloud to edge for building code, managing systems and using applications and devices.
Technically, NATO’s operational requirements will imply that NATO needs a DCIS that has the flexibility to quickly implement and change intelligent services packaged as containers in same consistent manner across multiple environments from the edge to the cloud. Whether the solution is in the cloud, offline, or somewhere in-between, Microsoft’s comprehensive IoT portfolio enables DCIS to utilize the power and capabilities of the cloud and the edge with Windows IoT, Azure IoT Edge, Azure Sphere and Azure Stack.
Dave De Bie
Global Technology Strategist for NATO & Defense
UC: +32 2 7043319 | M: +32 475 929349