Navy issues RFI for cloud services

August 12, 2011

The Department of the Navy has issued two requests for information on data storage and cloud-based collaboration systems, including email. Navy, like so many other agencies, is looking for ways to cut its expenses through its IT spending.

According to Federal News Radio reporter Jared Serbu, the Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command is contemplating “a public-private data center model to consolidate the dozens of facilities operated by the Navy and Marine Corps into a more rational footprint, as well as a commercial solution to cloud-based email and collaboration.”

It wants to explore software-as-a-service offerings that include email, word processing, spreadsheets, presentations and groupware, as well as audio and video chat, instant messaging, and calendaring.

Interested parties are asked to respond to the announcement by Aug. 29.

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DoD’s cloud e-mail plot thickens

May 5, 2011

Just how many Defense Department employees will eventually be using a cloud-based e-mail service depends who you ask.

Maj. Gen. Ronnie Hawkins, the Defense Information Systems Agency’s vice director, told reporters Tuesday, selling the Navy and Air Force on its cloud-based email system is a matter of when, not if. However, Hawkins admits, “If you talk to the services, it’s if. We’re in those negotiations with all of them right now. The ‘ifs’ are contingent on the pricing and the delivery of the capability.”

Federal News Radio’s Jared Serbu reports all eyes are on the Army’s transition to the DISA cloud, and decisions by the other agencies will likely be made based on the success or failure of the Army’s move.

So far, the Army has transferred 20,000 of its 900,000 users to the cloud. Army chief information officer Mike Krieger says the Army is stepping up its transition timeline and, with the help of a new tool, will transition approximately 1,000 users a night into the new DISA system.

However, the Army’s migration to the DISA cloud was dealt a potential setback by Congress (also on Tuesday).

The House Armed Services Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee cut funding for the Army’s email project in its markup of the 2012 budget by 98 percent until a business case analysis of the program can be completed.

The bill must still pass the full House and Senate to become law.

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Navy, DHS, State make strides in the cloud

January 18, 2011

When it comes to reducing costs and wasteful spending at agencies, IT managers are being leaned on heavily to get the job done.

The Navy is moving ahead with its technology efficiency and consolidation initiative by putting the brakes on spending for new servers, server upgrades and data centers.

“We are reevaluating what all of our organizations want to do and why they want to do it, and is it consistent with our overall IT efficiency,” said Janice Haith, director of assessment and compliance for the Navy’s Information Dominance Directorate.

“Server purchases up to date may not have been efficient. They may not have bought servers that were sufficiently robust to handle virtualization. We need to do that. That may mean we have to buy some additional servers that can be virtualized, and some of our servers today are not in that state.”

Federal News Radio’s Jared Serbu reports, the Navy set some targets for virtualization as well. It directs each of the Navy’s 23 Echelon II organizations – the commands in the organizational chart directly below the office of the Chief of Naval Operations – to develop plans to increase virtualization by 40 to 80 percent, and server utilization by 50 to 80 percent.

Various civilian agencies are also making strides. At a recent AFCEA-Bethesda breakfast panel, the State Department said its goal is to reduce the number of data centers in the United States from 11 to 2 over the next few years.

Cindy Cassil, the agency’s director of systems integration in the CIO office, says part of the way her agency will do that is by getting buy-in from business owners by offering services on a private cloud.

“Right now we are offering infrastructure-as-a-service,” Cassil said. “We are trying to work around the political issue about people still wanting to maintain their applications. The IT staffs are very powerful. They really advise the business they need to be involved. Right now, I would say we have 99.9 percent cooperation with our business side because they really like our model at this point. We offer the platform and the storage, and it’s free to them if they come in and virtualize.”

DHS’s Deputy CIO Margie Graves also spoke at the event. Graves said her agency is creating a test and development environment similar to one developed by the Defense Information Systems Agency.

Federal News Radio’s Jason Miller reports, her office wants to make it easier for DHS components to do rapid application development in a cloud environment. DHS also is working on two other cloud test and development environments using IBM’s Websphere and one for open source.