Department Of Defense Pursues Private Cloud

The agency is launching development and testing tools that should make it easier for military developers to test and deploy software themselves without the red tape.
Provisioning isn't immediate, either. RACE allows for 24-hour provisioning of computing resources in some cases, but typical requests for entirely new software take 14 to 30 days to stand up. Eventually, as systems come on to certify applications automatically, that time lag could decrease greatly. "Certification and accreditation is the longest pole in the tent right now," Sienkiewicz said.

Right now, though DISA makes a "secure, compliant system image" available to users and gives them access to a patch repository, RACE requires users to manage their own security. As part of the next phase of build-out, DISA will offer a service that will validate security against a set of standard practices and do penetration testing. The system is built for stability: RACE's data center environment includes backup power, redundant cooling, secure facilities, multiple network paths, multiple load-balanced DMZs and redundant power at the blade, rack, and data center level.

RACE is being built with help from a number of vendors, key among them Hewlett-Packard (including ProLiant blades for the data center infrastructure and HP Service Manager and HP Operations Orchestration for management) and VMware. Others include IBM, Sun, Moab (which provides resource workflow and scheduling capabilities) and Vion (which provides storage services and capacity). Sienkiewicz is especially interested in some of the ideas VMware raises as part of its V-Cloud initiative, though he said that's not an endorsement or an acknowledgment that DISA will end up a V-Cloud customer.

DISA's program has attracted the interest of many of the top names in cloud computing. VMware CEO Paul Maritz was at DISA's offices talking about RACE earlier this month, and both Amazon CTO Werner Vogels and CEO Marc Benioff were keynote speakers at DISA's partner conference this week.

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