Dinohead is an IT services and consulting firm that applies high levels of engineering expertise to commercial and government projects. With deep site reliability engineering (SRE) skills and broad industry experience, Dinohead engineers are able to navigate the complex security and compliance landscapes of government deployments.
After choosing the D2iQ Kubernetes Platform (DKP) as the basis for its container management solutions, Dinohead created production-ready Kubernetes management solutions for three U.S. Air Force Software Factories. These production-ready systems are now being rolled out for modernization initiatives within a number of U.S. military agencies and combatant commands.
Michael Howard, Dinohead Chief Operating Officer (COO), said the DKP solutions that Dinohead created for the U.S. Air Force Software Factories will be deployed as part of modernization initiatives within the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and U.S. Armed Forces. The Software Factories create production-ready Kubernetes platforms that provide consistency and common standards for deployment among U.S. Armed Forces.
Supporting the Mission
The DKP-based Kubernetes solutions Dinohead is deploying will enable rapid modernization of legacy systems and will support a variety of missions within these agencies, including delivering new capabilities to the warfighter. Kubernetes will be the foundation for creating a global command and control system unifying communications for the U.S. Armed Forces.
“There are hundreds of legacy systems, Systems of Systems (SoS) and components to modernize to utilize the capabilities within Kubernetes, ”said Howard, adding that, “The legacy systems must be converted to cloud-native systems to support the mission and enable the warfighter for next-generation (next-gen) missions.”
Dinohead, in collaboration with the Nebraska Defense Research Corporation (NDRC) and D2iQ, has developed a prototype (named Raptor) that is built on DKP and will simplify the deployment and management of Kubernetes and Next-Gen Nuclear Command, Control, and Communications (NC3) capabilities. In addition, a common goal is to develop the cloud-native standards for Next Gen NC3 and utilize a common platform to rapidly modernize NC3.
Dinohead began creating container management solutions based on the D2iQ Kubernetes Platform DKP) after testing competing Kubernetes management platforms that proved to be too difficult to get into production, had persistent performance problems, or lacked enterprise scalability. In contrast, Howard said their team was able to create a scalable, production-ready cluster with DKP in just 45 minutes.
The competing Kubernetes solutions were difficult to deploy and the deployments were not easily repeatable or scalable, said Howard, whereas DKP gave Dinohead a secure, reliable, scalable, open, and production-ready Kubernetes platform. “DKP was simple to deploy and provided enterprise scalability,” said Howard.
DKP also provides centralized multi-cloud fleet management capabilities, ease of air-gapped deployment, and integrated Cluster API and FluxCD, all of which are important factors for the container management solutions Dinohead is creating, Howard said, particularly for Raptor prototypes, which need to manage deployments on-premises and on multiple cloud service providers.
Kubernetes is very complicated, and D2iQ has done a great job of making it easy. DKP is the core piece that provides everything required for Day Two operations.
Michael Howard, Dinohead Chief Operating Officer (COO)
D2iQ Plays Central Role in Military Modernization
A key factor in deploying D2iQ for military modernization is the flexibility of orchestration the platform provides, said Howard. “D2iQ is the platform in the middle, where centralized and federated management is key within the federal world,” he noted.
Raptor plus DKP enables siloed systems and applications to be unified and managed centrally, while the platform’s flexibility enables it to support different missions, levels of security, and applications, Howard explained.
DKP’s air-gapped capability is a critical requirement in military deployments in which air-gapped security is mandatory and integral to battlefield and warfighter systems, he noted.
Howard stressed that the DoD Software Factories contained centralized resources, the same DevSecOps tools, and different K8s distributions to provide pipelines to build cloud-native applications. To modernize legacy systems, pipelines are one piece of the equation, he explained, adding that we must define the common standards and provide a common platform to fully enable this next phase in DoD’s modernization efforts. DKP provides the Kubernetes management standardization and common tools that are required.
Simplification Through Automation
The goals of the military’s modernization initiatives are to increase the speed of deployment capabilities, reduce cost, and make it easy to sustain and manage the infrastructure, said Howard.
With platform engineering receiving so much attention as a means of reducing the complexity of Kubernetes deployment and management, Howard agreed that D2iQ enabled platform engineering in the form of a production-ready platform that provides a standardized and consistent environment.
“Kubernetes is very complicated, and D2iQ has done a great job of making it easy,” he said, adding that “DKP is the core piece that provides everything required for Day Two operations.”
Having worked with D2iQ and created DKP-based solutions that have been running in production for two years, Howard said Dinohead’s satisfaction rating for D2iQ was “one-hundred percent,” adding, “It’s been a great experience for us.”