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Homeland Security Plans 12 Cloud Services

DHS' aggressive cloud implementation includes new services for collaboration, software development, infrastructure, project management, and business intelligence.

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The Department of Homeland Security has committed to 12 cloud service offerings, including nine private cloud offerings and three public cloud offerings, as part of its commitment to the White House's "Cloud First" policy, DHS CIO Richard Spires told a House cybersecurity subcommittee on Thursday.

DHS' plans go beyond White House requirements that each federal agency move three services to the cloud by mid-2012. Several of the cloud services are already in place, including enterprise content delivery, an identity proofing service, and authentication services from the agency's private cloud.

Included among the new services DHS plans to implement in the cloud are services for collaboration, software development, infrastructure, project management, and business intelligence.

[Find out how government IT pros are juggling their many mandates in Research: Federal Government's IT Priorities.]

DHS cloud plans include:

Email and SharePoint: DHS plans to deliver email and SharePoint from its own private cloud, rather than from Microsoft's cloud, as some agencies and private companies have been doing recently. By the end of this calendar year, 90,000 DHS users will be on the SharePoint service, and by the end of next fiscal year, 100,000 users will be on the email service.

Development and Test: By moving its disparate dev and test systems into a private cloud, DHS anticipates being able to greatly accelerate the delivery of new software and services. Server provisioning time should decrease from six months to a day, and the service will include on-demand testing and app management.

Infrastructure as a Service: By the end of this calendar year, DHS plans to implement an IaaS service that includes virtual production systems, network, and storage and that's designed with industry standards in mind.

WorkPlace as a Service: Within the next 24 months, DHS plans to craft a service to allow virtual desktop and remote access for employees across the country. The hope is that this will enable DHS to decrease its long-term spending on desktops and laptops.

Project Server: Within the next 30 days, DHS will launch Microsoft's Project Server as service. The goal is to standardize project management efforts across the agency and to make it easier to publish and share project schedules across the agency's different groups and bureaus.

Case and Relationship Management as a Service: DHS plans to offer case and relationship management as a service dovetail well with similar plans to offer Project Server as a service. Both efforts are targeted at standardizing business processes across the agency. In addition, the case and relationship management offering will leverage enterprise license agreements to cut licensing costs.

Business Intelligence: There's already a pilot business intelligence project in place at DHS, which looks to fill a void and provide the agency with a more complete view of its programs and expenditures. By fiscal 2013, the agency plans to turn this effort into a full-fledged private cloud service.

Web Content Management as a Service: DHS' experience hosting in the public cloud last year led this year to the award of a public cloud hosting contract. Within six months, DHS will begin piloting public hosting with websites from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Citizenship and Immigration Services, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

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