VAR Mobilizes Army Private Cloud3:36 PM EST Thu. Jan. 26, 2012
Cloud and data center solution provider MicroTech is putting the U.S. Army into the cloud.
MicroTech, based in Vienna, Va., has been awarded the first cloud contract for the Army, a deal in which the cloud provider will maintain and support mobile data centers for the Army Private Cloud Mobile Program. The Army cloud environment will leverage the MicroPodd, MicroTech's portable cloud-based data centers contained in a ruggedized, man-transportable transit case or standalone rack; and the MicroTech MicroKloud product line, which features a one-stop solution for creating, operating and managing private cloud solutions.
Combined, the MicroTech plays let the military branch can take with it to various locations to ensure it always has a private cloud up and running.
"The army is looking at a portable cloud solution, an alternative to a brick and mortar data center," said MicroTech President and CEO Tony Jimenez in a recent interview, adding that MicroTech emerged as a top choice due to its skill set and its ability to build affordable and portable systems that the Army can take with them.
[Related: Federal Cloud Security Standards Take Shape]
Leveraging MicroPodd, the Army has a secure, behind-the-firewall, private cloud that is portable. It can be taken into combat, to bases and around the globe with little notice.
The Army Private Cloud (APC2) Mobile Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract for the Program Executive Office, Enterprise Information Systems (PEO EIS) is a $250 million contract that lets the Army reduce costs through server consolidation and updating and optimizing IT with fixed and containerized data centers.
The Army turning to a private cloud environment is part of the government's larger "cloud-first" policy that requires government and federal agencies to examine cloud computing solution as they government seeks to dramatically reduce IT costs. It also falls under the government's plan to dramatically reduce the number of federal data centers.
Jimenez said a portable private cloud offers the same performance as a next generation data center, but is a portable option aimed mostly at first responders like FEMA, the FBI and other agencies that respond to incidents and disasters and need a level of flexibility and computing capabilities.
In the case of the Army, Jimenez said, security is the No. 1 priority. The question they ask is: "Is someone going to fly into my cloud and start looking at my data?" The second question is: What do I put into the cloud, because, Jimenez added, "everybody in government isn't exactly the same."
The mission is to determine what the agency needs to take with it and design for those needs.
MicroTech is providing, maintaining, operating and supporting the mobile data centers, which includes offering hosting services for applications within the container-based facilities and providing Software-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service, Infrastructure-as-a-Service and data and application migration services.
"You have to be able to know that what you're building, what you're developing and what you're designing actually works in their environment," Jimenez said. "You don't want to build 400 different designs; you want to build one design that works 400 different ways."