Army Plans Private Cloud - InformationWeek

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7/29/2010
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Army Plans Private Cloud

APC2, the Army Private Cloud, will be a cornerstone of a broader data center consolidation initiative that aims to reduce the number of Army data centers from 200 to less than 20.

As for the underlying infrastructure, APC2 will consist of two primary physical pieces, the first being a conventional private cloud environment in fixed data centers and the second being mobile, containerized data centers "that can meet urgent needs in contingency operations or where rapid or temporary cloud computing is needed."

The fixed data centers being contracted out for the first piece of APC2 could be contractor- or government-owned and contractor-operated, and inside or outside the continental United States, according to the statement of work.

The Army isn't ruling out the use of commercial data centers as the hosting facilities for APC2. In fact, it seems to be encouraging it. "Since dedicated commercial data centers with existing Non-classified Internet Protocol Router Network and Secret Internet Protocol Router Network connectivity are available with proven technology, the Army believes there are cost and performance advantages that can be realized by utilizing these centers for the Army Private Cloud requirements," the statement of work says.

Even leaving the door open for considering a commercially-owned and operated data center represents a bit of a shift in Army thinking. In the past, the Army's signaled an unwillingness to consider commercial services, but the statement of work says only that, if hosted in a commercial data center, "the Army Private Cloud will be an enclave separated from the Contractors public cloud so that an appropriate level of security is maintained for DOD data."

As for the mobile piece of APC2, the military has been using containerized data centers for years, longer than they have been used in the commercial sector. In a sample task order, the Army lays out one possible scenario for their use: providing IT support to the Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan.

Ultimately, the contractors winning the APC2 contracts will be responsible for a broad cross-section of the operation of APC2, including consulting, network management, cybersecurity support, certification and accreditation support, application migration, and provision of the actual data centers.

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