The advent of cloud computing has demonstrated how to use automation, virtualization and standardized machine images to drastically cut the time and effort required to provision new computing instances. Forward-thinking enterprise IT leaders are taking their cue from such examples and have begun implementing their own internal islands of ‘cloud computing.’
A really impressive example was reported last week at the US Department of Defense. The newly launched Rapid Access Computing Environment (RACE) is a portal into a shared, virtualized computing infrastructure that allows military staff to provision new server instances in a matter of hours, rather than having to wait days or weeks before they can get started on a project. “We need to have the ability to develop and deploy applications within the timeline of the military decision cycle,” says the project’s leader, which I suppose is a sanitized version of the more robust language you’d hear on that topic from the troops on the ground.