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6/27/2013
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Defense Dept. Seeks $450 Million Cloud Builder

$450 million in business up for grabs as DISA seeks provider for DOD cloud plans.

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The contracting office of the Defense Information Systems Agency is seeking a contractor to build a cloud for the entire U.S. Defense Department. DISA put out a request for proposals June 24 on establishing $450 million in cloud computing services for the Department of Defense, expected to be operative a year from the date of the award.

If established successfully, the contract would be extended for additional years, possibly through 2017. The request doesn't specify public cloud, private cloud or some combination, but it does say a "commercial cloud service" that will be able to meet requirements submitted from throughout the Department of Defense. That means at least part of a DISA cloud would likely be a private-cloud style of operation, with servers dedicated to a single user or set of users within the department.

The DISA request shows that the agency is positioned to become the cloud supplier to the entire, sprawling Defense Department, if it can find a successful implementer of the contract.

[ Want to know how Amazon beat out IBM to build a cloud for the CIA? See Amazon Wins Best Cloud, Based In CIA Bake-off. ]

Coming on the heels of a disputed bid for $600 million in CIA cloud services, the two initiatives add up to over $1 billion in cloud services being sought in the same time period. The two contracts illustrate how necessary the federal government considers it to have access to large amounts of flexible, cloud services. Cloud computing has attained status as a technology well-defined enough to put hundreds of millions of federal dollars into it. In public cloud services, end users may provision the virtual servers they need and have them automatically assigned related resources, such as storage, networking and database services.

The CIA specified that it wanted a private cloud operated on its premises by a cloud service provider. Amazon Web Services got the nod from the CIA for the $600 million contract, but IBM, the low bidder, disputed that call. After a recent General Accounting Office review, the contract might have to be rebid.

The call for a second major government cloud was first revealed by NextGov, a news site devoted to U.S. government technology and innovation, and Gigaom, a San Francisco technology reporting service. Amazon Web Services offers a virtual private data center service in its public cloud infrastructure, such as its U.S. East location in Ashburn, Va., or U.S. West in Oregon. But it hasn't disclosed up to this point that it has ever constructed and then operated a private cloud on a customer's premises. If it ends up in the CIA bid, it will be its first such project in the public eye.

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