Lockheed Announces Turnkey Private Cloud For Public Agencies

Starfire Mission Ready Cloud features self-service provisioning, automated security and built-in governance capabilities.
Slideshow: Cloud Security Pros And Cons
Slideshow: Cloud Security Pros And Cons
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Federal contractor Lockheed Martin on Wednesday announced a new entry in the government cloud computing market, a turnkey private cloud offering aimed at federal, state, and local agencies.

The company's new Starfire Mission Ready Cloud is a pre-engineered private cloud that provides customers with, out of the box, self-provisioning, built-in governance features and automated security with continuous monitoring capabilities. It can be deployed within federal agencies, or hosted by Lockheed.

At the system's core is the Vblock virtualization infrastructure from the Virtual Computing Environment coalition, a collaborative effort by VMware, Cisco and EMC. Included are EMC storage, Cisco networking technologies optimized for virtualization, VMware virtualization, with the computing power provided by Cisco's Unified Computing System platform. Commercial cybersecurity technologies will also play a role, as will security and dashboarding technologies developed by Lockheed.

According to Curt Aubley, Lockheed's VP for NextGen Cyber Security & Innovation, it can take as little as four weeks from signing the deal to having the system up and running.

"The whole point of this is to make it easier," Aubley said in an interview. "In the big picture, we can build anything for anyone, but people want things better, faster and cheaper, so we came up with this turnkey, secure private cloud."

Lockheed, in fact, has been using the system in its own internal labs, and Aubley said that it's resulted in much quicker development. "If I need something or one of my teams needs something, they just log on and they get it now," he said. "Automation gives you the ability to meet business objectives faster."

With security concerns looming over cloud computing in government, Lockheed made it a point to make security a key feature of Starfire. In addition to automated security technologies, Lockheed built a security dashboard into the system to enable admins to monitor system risks in real-time. "I can look at a real-time assessment of all the assets in the cloud and all the assets that have been assigned to people," Aubley said.

In terms of governance, while Starfire includes self-provisioning, the system can also require management approval before dedicating resources to a user's needs, and can show users how much money they're spending on resources.

In terms of footprint, Lockheed said that the starting point to make Starfire worthwhile is the equivalent of two racks' worth of computing power. "If you're thinking about just three systems, the automation isn’t really going to provide you with all that much value," Aubley said.