Efficient and secure software adoption, migration, development, and operations are critical for the Department of Defense (DoD) to ensure mission success, and the adoption of Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) technology and standards, such as Kubernetes, plays a pivotal role in modernizing software development and deployment practices in the DoD. This article delves into the use cases and benefits of CNCF standardized solutions. It also highlights how Second Front Systems'® Game Warden® platform leverages CNCF technology to maximize the flexibility, compatibility, and speed of software development and deployment for DoD and Intelligence Community (IC) use cases.
CNCF's Contributions to DoD Software Modernization
CNCF, a subsidiary of the Linux Foundation, is an organization dedicated to managing distributed components across diverse infrastructures. CNCF has made significant technical contributions that benefit DoD, with its most notable being Kubernetes, a container orchestration technology donated to CNCF by Google and adopted by the DoD and Intelligence Community. Kubernetes is a standardized container orchestration platform designed for scalable deployments of containerized software across multiple deployment models and infrastructures. It is a tool for the orchestration and management of containerized applications. This adoption was codified by the inclusion of CNCF containers and Kubernetes in the DoD DevSecOps Reference Design.
CNCF has worked to standardize Kubernetes and container implementation to address the challenges of flexibility and compatibility across multiple organizations, application infrastructures, and deployment models. Standardization ensures that all versions of containers have the same base of technology so that they are reliably portable across multiple vendors' products. CNCF certification entails that the technology is built upon a reliable and well-tested foundation. This enables more developers and vendors to add on to and expand the DoD application ecosystem at the speed of relevance.
CNCF has also played a crucial role in advancing the practice of continuous monitoring in DoD software systems. By promoting the use of monitoring tools and frameworks within the CNCF ecosystem, such as Prometheus, CNCF has enhanced the real-time visibility and proactive identification of security threats and vulnerabilities in software systems.
The results of CNCF’s standardization efforts include:
- Consistency in how containers are deployed, managed, and operated across different organizations
- Common framework for developers and vendors to build upon
- Trusted source of tools and methodologies for Kubernetes and container management
- Development of skills and knowledge amongst developers in a tech stack that translates across multiple organizations
- Interoperability between different solutions
Ultimately, CNCF’s standardization of Kubernetes and container implementation, along with its emphasis on continuous monitoring, has greatly improved the flexibility and ease of managing modern distributed applications and infrastructures in DoD software systems.
Game Warden's Utilization of CNCF Technology and Standards
Game Warden, developed by Second Front Systems, leverages CNCF technology and aligns with the DoD DevSecOps Reference Design to offer a comprehensive platform for enhanced pipeline management, security, and compliance. By leveraging CNCF standards and technology, Game Warden ensures compatibility for its customers across the largest standardized base of applications, facilitating the seamless integration of software within complex environments involving multiple vendors and organizations.
The Game Warden platform offers a secure, continuously monitored deployment pipeline and runtime environment that takes in containerized applications, hardens them to DoD standards, and provides testing, staging, and production environments where DoD software vendors can test, demo, or run their applications in production. Because of Game Warden’s security controls, vendors can even demo their apps for DoD mission owners with real world mission data. Meanwhile, post-deployment container management within the platform is handled by automated Kubernetes processes.
Game Warden also utilizes CNCF continuous monitoring practices, granting software vendors real-time monitoring capabilities for their applications. With the incorporation of CNCF-based monitoring tools, Game Warden enables 24/7 visibility into the performance, security, and compliance status of software systems throughout the development and operational life cycle.
This marriage of CNCF standards and technology, DoD DevSecOps Reference Design, and Game Warden enables commercial software companies to deliver applications to the DoD faster and easier, while inheriting robust security controls, and enjoying the compatibility and flexibility of CNCF’s tech stack. This also helps streamline the compliance process for gaining an Authority to Operate (ATO), a status that approves an IT system for use in a particular organization. The government uses ATOs to manage risk in their networks by evaluating the security controls for new and existing systems.
Learn more about how you can develop applications to DoD standards by signing up for Game Warden Builder™ pre-release updates.