DISA's cloud future [UPDATED]

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Well, I’ve got to admit I’m surprised that any part of the DoD these days would use the phrase of the moment in computing while it was still the phrase of the moment. But it’s happened.

From HP this week comes this news

HP logoHP today announced that it will be supplying the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) with scalable technology to enable its Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) to deploy a cloud computing infrastructure.

Jumping Jehoshaphat, Mabel. Isn’t that the third seal?

HP’s offerings will enable DISA to build an adaptable cloud computing infrastructure it calls RACE (or, Rapid Access Computing Environment), which is designed to reduce costs, consolidate applications, shorten delivery times and simplify the user experience. According to a DISA official, RACE represents an unprecedented capability for the DoD, offering the speed and agility comparable to the commercial marketplace.

I’ve sometimes wondered aloud why the DoD doesn’t buy more computing services, and then I remember that the DoD’s IT franchise is protected by either rules or regulations (not sure which, maybe both) that prohibit the DoD from hosting any of its data on commercial services. DISA is meant to be to the DoD what the commercial IT industry is to the rest of us, and this is their answer to provisioning on demand, as illustrated below

Users of the RACE cloud infrastructure will avoid capital costs for hardware or software licenses and instead pay for computing resources with operations and maintenance budgets on an as-needed basis. When a compute-intensive cycle is complete, resources will be returned to the cloud, ensuring that the user pays only for the resources required.

No, this isn’t specifically HPC related. But this certainly sets the stage for DISA to make a run at the hardware bit of the HPCMP’s business at some point down the road.

[UPDATE] I was interested in how DISA is paying for this, and where it will all go. I got this back from David Lewis, business development, Federal Strategic Programs, HP:

HP will provide the appropriate amount of infrastructure to scale with DISA’s customers demand.  DISA is not buying or leasing these, it is provided as a service from HP. DISA will not own hardware or software. DISA does have options to expand the scale/scope using the existing contract, no new solicitation is required.

The service is being hosted within DISA government facilities.  DISA is providing the appropriate physical and network security needed to protect this enclave.

(Thanks, David!)