DHS using Networx to transition to private cloud

Listen to Michael C. Brown talking with moderator Chris Dorobek


The Department of Homeland Security is moving its managed service offerings under Networx to a private cloud.

In order to do this, DHS took its cues from the Social Security Administration, which is using a similar model.

At a recent lunch hosted by AFFIRM, Michael C. Brown, Executive Director of the IT Services Office at the Department of Homeland Security talked about how his office is accomplishing this and why they decided to make the move.

“We wanted both carrier and geographic redundancy for all the reasons that that might make sense and we did not have that pervasively throughout the department under the status quo, so this really was, again, a transformative opportunity in terms of capability.”

DHS has branded its WAN [wide area network] as OneNet, which is currently composed of 151,000 service elements and 5,000 sites.

In terms of design, Brown said that the way that telecommunications services are offered through Networx (and, previously, FTS2001) were very advantageous.

“There’s both an ability to centralize services. So, for example, we’ve centralized the fair opportunity across the department for [WAN] services and we’ve centralized the provisioning capability. At the same time, there are the very positive tools of distributed management. So, the designated agency representative capabilities — those ordering officials that are spread throughout the department and every other agency in the federal government, allow us then to execute the fair opportunity decision in a distributive way. It really brings a force multiplier to the game and allows each of our components to have a significant stake in a centralized solution.”

This, he noted, has many benefits including cost savings.

“The fair opportunity decision which we completed in May of 2008 was about $971 million in total value over the life — so very significant fair opportunity decision. I think that the work we undertook in the SOW [statement of work] arena was perhaps the most meaningful. We achieved a number of capabilities that we hadn’t had in the department before — but most challenging, perhaps, in developing an SOW of that size is bringing together the subject matter experts and sequestering them for a long enough period of time to create a real requirements package.”

He added that DHS is using Networx — and the private cloud — as an opportunity to transform the enterprise.

“As a young department, you can imagine that we’re working through a number of the consolidation kinds of activities that you might expect when you pull 22 agencies together. WANs are not the least of those. We’re having to roll those up into a single enterprise of wide area network. Networx presents exactly the right opportunity to cause that to happen.”

Listen to more of the presentation by clicking on the audio link at the top of the page.

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