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8/1/2011
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Navy: Cloud, Consolidation To Cut IT Costs 25%

Consolidating more than 80 data centers and moving software to the cloud as part of its multibillion-dollar next-generation IT network.

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The Navy has sketched out data center and cloud computing plans for a multibillion dollar, next-generation network it's building for both naval forces and the Marine Corps.

The Navy aims to reduce its non-tactical IT budget by 25% through the deployment of the Next Generation Enterprise Network (NGEN), and to do that will consolidate the more than 80 data centers it currently has and move on-premises software to the cloud, according to two separate requests for information (RFIs) posted on FedBizOpps.gov.

NGEN is a network the Navy is building to be a modern replacement for the Navy Marines Corps Intranet (NMCI), which is no longer flexible nor scalable enough to suit the military's needs. HP last June won a potentially more than $3 billion award to build NGEN, which is expected to cost $50 billion through 2025.

Earlier this year a Government Accountability Office report cautioned the Navy to review its plans for NGEN before spending any more money on the project. The new RFIs reflect the special attention the Navy is paying to NGEN's cost-savings goals.

On the data center front, the Navy is eyeing a mix of public and private data centers to handle a significant downsizing of 1,600 IT systems it currently has. The military arm said it considers only 4% of them to be mission-critical, according to the RFI, and so is seeking ways to use only necessary systems in NGEN to reduce costs and achieve greater efficiency.

The military arm also plans to shore up existing IT resources in public and private data centers to "be adequately protected by an improved cybersecurity posture," it said in the RFI.

To leverage cloud computing, the Navy plans to assess all of its applications and, for its NGEN plans, will continue only to maintain, use, and procure those that can be hosted in in the cloud, according to the RFI.

The current raft of in-house applications for command and control, legal, administrative, and other functions that the Navy uses have a very high total ownership costs (TOCs), and do not fit into the reduced costs the military expects to achieve with NGEN, the Navy said.

"Given today's fiscally constrained environment and under the department's current consolidation and efficiency guidance, inefficient software solutions with high TOC are neither desired nor sustainable," according to the RFI.

The Navy is not the only military arm that aims to leverage the cloud to cut back on in-house systems and reduce costs. The Army is in the midst of consolidating a network of disparate emails systems to a cloud hosted by the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA).

Former Army CIO Lt. Gen Jeffrey Sorenson, who initiated the move, said it will save the military $100 million annually. Sorenson retired in November and was replaced as Army CIO by Lt. Gen. Susan Lawrence.

What industry can teach government about IT innovation and efficiency. Also in the new, all-digital issue of InformationWeek Government: Federal agencies have to shift from annual IT security assessments to continuous monitoring of their risks. Download it now. (Free registration required.)

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