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Army Cloud Plans Include Containerized Data Centers

Army's $249.8 million cloud computing contract includes mobile cloud services and HP containerized data centers.

Federal Data Center Consolidation Makes Progres
Federal Data Center Consolidation Makes Progress
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
As part of the Army's Area Processing Centers Army Private Cloud (APC2) initiative, HP and other companies will be providing the Army with "mobile data center" services, including so-called containerized data centers that come in shipping containers, the winners of the $249.8 million contract vehicle announced this week.

The Army awarded nine APC2 contracts to seven companies in early January, but several of those companies this week began to disclose more details about the work they'd be performing under the contracts. The awardees included IBM, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, MicroTech, Lockheed Martin, and Criterion Systems.

Among other goals, the five-year APC2 deal aims to help the military move to cloud services and shutter data centers as part of the government's federal data center consolidation initiative. The Army plans to close 185 data centers by the end of 2015. The Department of Defense in total shuttered 55 data centers in fiscal 2011. Last year, the Army expanded a server purchasing moratorium to prohibit the construction of new Army data centers.

[ The Army has a lot of tech efforts under way. Read Army Aids Wounded Warriors With Mobile App. ]

The APC2 contracts cover a broad array of data center services, including cloud operations and maintenance, cloud consulting, application migration and consolidation, network connectivity, cybersecurity support, and other services. The APC2 deal includes two "suites" of services: fixed services, and mobile services.

According to HP, its role under the mobile suite will include deploying "mobile, containerized data centers for contingency operation or when rapid or temporary cloud computing is needed." That might include the use of HP Performance-Optimized Data Centers (PODs), which are chilled-water cooled shipping containers that pack as many as 1,600 server nodes into a 20-foot container. The military has been one of the first and largest users of containerized data centers.

General Dynamics, which was awarded two contracts as part of the deal, was also among those detailing its role this week. The company received two awards, for fixed and mobile cloud computing services. The company, like HP, said that it would be deploying mobile services for contingency and temporary operations.

Northrop Grumman also announced details of its work on the APC2 project this week. In particular, Northrop will provide cloud consulting and operations, application migration, and cybersecurity services, and will provide infrastructure-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service, and software-as-a-service operations to the Army, according to a press release. Criterion Systems, the smallest of the awardees, announced this week that it would be working on application migration and systems integration.

As federal agencies embrace devices and apps to meet employee demand, the White House seeks one comprehensive mobile strategy. Also in the new Going Mobile issue of InformationWeek Government: Find out how the National Security Agency is developing technologies to make commercial devices suitable for intelligence work. (Free registration required.)

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J. Nicholas Hoover
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J. Nicholas Hoover,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/20/2012 | 1:29:34 PM
re: Army Cloud Plans Include Containerized Data Centers
Sorry for the delayed reply. Microsoft has indeed used containerized pods in their Chicago data center since 2009. However, the Army was using containers years before that even.
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