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4/28/2011
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GSA Prepares $2.5 Billion Cloud Procurement

U.S. CIO Vivek Kundra said federal agencies will use the cloud to consolidate 950,000 email boxes now sitting on 100 different systems.

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The General Services Administration (GSA) will unveil a $2.5 billion procurement May 10 to consolidate email on cloud-computing infrastructure as part of the federal government's "cloud first" mandate, President Obama's CIO said this week.

Federal agencies have identified 950,000 email boxes across 100 systems that can be consolidated by leveraging cloud computing, and the procurement will be to implement this plan, U.S. CIO Vivek Kundra said Wednesday, speaking at a forum of federal IT officials. A video of the forum is available on the White House website.

The procurement represents a "huge opportunity for everyone to aggressively compete for new business in the cloud space," he said.

Kundra said earlier this month that the federal cloud computing strategy has been one of the most successful so far, according to a a 25-point IT reform plan the Obama administration unveiled in December.

Email and collaboration certainly have been the first systems agencies are moving to the cloud by far. The GSA, the Army, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) include those that have moved or are in the process of moving email systems to the cloud.

But Kundra also revealed plans that several agencies have to move other systems to the cloud as well. The Department of Justice aims to consolidate the storage systems of 250 offices that serve 18,000 U.S. attorneys to the cloud, while the USDA is looking at workflow solutions for document management, he said.

As part of his remarks, Kundra also provided an update on how the feds are getting along on other aspects of the reform plan.

Agencies have made steady progress on data-center consolidation and will close 137 data centers across the country by the end of the year, he said. Thirty-nine of them--including centers from NASA and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)--are already shuttered, leaving 98 more that will be closed before 2012. The Department of Defense and the Department of Labor also will shut down centers as part of the year's closures.

Kundra also provided details about the kind of real estate the government is giving up. The HHS data center in Rockville, Md., for example, was a 14,992 square foot facility with 218 racks of equipment that consumed $1.2 million worth of electricity each year, he said. In total, the 39 centers closed represented 325,000 square feet of facility space.

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