This week, the Defense Information Systems Agency took a step toward making its own data center act more like a cloud computing environment.
The agency is launching new software development and testing tools that eventually will make it easier for military developers to test and deploy software themselves without the red tape usually required to provision new computing power.
"There are incredibly expanding capabilities on the Internet that because of security and stability requirements, we can't use," Rob Vietmeyer, Forge.mil's project director, said in an interview. "We want to take the things that Amazon and Google are showing us are possible and take our assets to the next level, to allow rapid innovation of [Department of Defense] technology."
DISA, the central IT arm of the Department of Defense, has been working for more than a year to build the Rapid Access Computing Environment (RACE), which will eventually become a private cloud for the military. RACE will be used to host all sorts of production software for the military, but one of the ways DISA hopes to increase its usability within DoD is through the launch of the first piece of Forge.mil, a new collaborative software development tool and repository called SoftwareForge.
Though it doesn't do so today, Forge.mil ultimately will allow rapid self-service testing and self-service deployment of new software and services on RACE from within the Forge.mil site and even from within development environments like Eclipse. One of the technologies that might help make that happen is a feature in the latest version of CollabNet's application life-cycle management software called Lab Management.
Forge.mil takes its inspiration from SourceForge, the popular open source software repository online. Its goal is to make it easier for the DoD to more quickly develop, test, and deploy software and services. SoftwareForge -- launched this week for unclassified use only -- is a software repository and collaboration site that includes version control, issue tracking, wikis, discussion forums, and document repositories to accelerate development, based on collaborative development tools from CollabNet.
SoftwareForge will require open source or "Department of Defense community source" and promote modular software development in order to encourage collaboration and reuse of code across branches of the military and regardless of location, thus enabling much easier distributed software development by combining these development techniques with a distributed infrastructure.