ARL exploring private cloud options

The Army Research Laboratory wants to modernize the way its 3,500 researchers and support staff complete their everyday tasks.

ARL issued a request for information on Feb. 20 to solicit industry feedback on how the agency can move into a cloud environment and still support the massive processing, storage and memory needs that researchers require. Currently, the lab runs three data centers that support five major sites in addition to many smaller locations. That architecture creates performance issues during peak utilization time periods.

As storage area networks become saturated, it has become harder for researchers to replicate and backup their data to other sites, according to the RFI. The underlying network architecture is not able to meet ARL’s rapidly changing research requirements, so the agency is looking to move into a new computing and storage environment that provides more flexibility and provides better services at a lower cost.

Any new cloud solution “needs to ensure system administration, patching/upgrading, system and data security and backups can be accomplished more easily, as well as remotely and/or automatically where possible,” the RFI states. “The new approach should provide flexible capabilities to build and modify logical networks and their connected capabilities to quickly respond to changing research requirements.”

Specifically, the agency is interested in creating a scalable “private cloud” that can meet mission needs, establishing an environment to utilize virtual machines and containers in data centers and using virtual desktop infrastructure to increase end-user flexibility and ease client support burdens. ARL also is looking to get input how to create full lifecycle asset management and the use of a hybrid public or private cloud.

Reponses to the RFI are due on March 13.

About the Author

Sara Friedman is a reporter/producer for GCN, covering cloud, cybersecurity and a wide range of other public-sector IT topics.

Before joining GCN, Friedman was a reporter for Gambling Compliance, where she covered state issues related to casinos, lotteries and fantasy sports. She has also written for Communications Daily and Washington Internet Daily on state telecom and cloud computing. Friedman is a graduate of Ithaca College, where she studied journalism, politics and international communications.

Friedman can be contacted at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @SaraEFriedman.

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