Cloud

Defense IT

Army ACCENT deal accelerates cloud migration

The Army has awarded 50 firms contracts to expedite the movement of Army systems to a commercial cloud environment as part of the service’s data consolidation plan.

The ACCENT contract, with a ceiling of some $247 million, will issue Basic Ordering Agreements to vendors to provide cloud hosting services. The period of performance for BOAs is 3 years; all ordering on ACCENT will be through the Computer Hardware Enterprise Software and Solutions (CHESS), which is the Army’s designated source for commercial IT purchases.

The Army plans to further reduce its data center footprint to only 10 global Army Enterprise Data Centers and establish an Army Private Cloud – Enterprise, service statements said.  

According to the Army deal, cloud transition support activities may include application analysis, security requirements analysis, documentation, modernization and virtualization.

The contract will also include technical engineering, migration scheduling, business process reengineering, data preparation and migration planning, according to the Army.

In addition, the comprehensive effort will involve interface transition planning, service transition planning, cutover planning, back out planning, and go-live support, Army officials explained.  

The Army’s effort to streamline its information technology portfolios has been underway for a few years. The ACCENT deal will accelerate and advance this effort.

The Army pursued this application migration and data center consolidation as directed by both a 2011 Execution Order and a 2014 Under Secretary of the Army memo, with the objective of reducing its inventory by 734 data centers by the end of fiscal year 2018 (from approximately 1,200 initially).

As of December 2016, the Army had successfully closed 433 data centers and has been making measured progress toward reaching its goal, Army information states.

Army officials also say the movement to the private cloud will reduce the services’ cyberattack surface.

"The Army realizes that cyber-related threats to our systems, applications, and networks pose significant risks to our ability to generate and sustain ready forces; protect the unit and personal information of our formations, Soldiers, and Family members; and secure our installations and activities," said Donald Squires, Project Officer, AAMBO

"We can no longer underwrite these risks or tolerate antiquated IT software, hardware, and policies that present potential attack surfaces for exploitation."

 Industry experts have been exploring technological methods to further expedite cloud migration, using techniques to increase elasticity and capacity for data networks.

 “The private cloud coming into DOD essentially allows for elasticity. When you connected two networks in the past, it was done through a VPN or some point of extension. All traffic is treated the same. If you build a virtual structure that is segmented, allowing nodes on the network to communicate as though they are working on the same switch, you can operate within the same enclave,” said Edris Amiryar, senior systems engineer with Netcentrics, which is working with the Army on the project.

 

About the Author

Kris Osborn is editor-in-chief of Defense Systems. He can be reached at kosborn@1105media.com.

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