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DISA Releases New Cloud Capability, Targets Additional Pilots

The agency is working on multiple cloud initiatives to further push the agency’s ambitious plan of creating a global cloud infrastructure.

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DISA Cloud Targets Additional
DOD CIO John Sherman, DISA Director Lt. Gen. Robert Skinner, Deputy CIO Lily Zeleke, and DISA Hosting and Compute Center Director Sharon Wood hold a press briefing on award of the JWCC contract on Dec. 8, 2022. Photo Credit: DVIDS

The Defense Information Systems Agency has recently released a new cloud capability available outside the contiguous United States and is on the cusp of delivering additional cloud capabilities.

Now available at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii, OCONUS Region for Stratus is just one initiative in the agency’s ambitious plan to create an infrastructure that will “connect on-the-ground teams to each other, to headquarters, and to private and public cloud networks” globally.

“We’ve started talking about OCONUS cloud … last year and even before, and these pilots kind of started to grow legs in about six, eight, nine, 10 months almost to a year timeframe. And, so, it’s really exciting to be just on the cusp of delivery of some of these pilots and … just ready to take things off the whiteboard and actually put them to use,” Korie Seville, technical director at DISA’s Hosting and Compute Center (HaCC), said at an event this month.

The agency is also working with Defense Department’s CIO and U.S. Special Operations Command on the Joint Operational Edge initiative, another effort to bring OCONUS cloud to the agency. The program will provide platform as a service (PaaS), infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and other enterprise service offerings across DOD. Computing offerings under this program may be procured through the Pentagon’s Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability (JWCC) contract.

“Joint Operational Edge has … a little bit of a longer lead time, and it’s all dependent on our interaction with our vendor partners as well as with our [Indo-Pacific Command] customers,” Seville said. “We’re actually right now actively working with the DISA field office representatives in INDOPACOM as well as with the INDOPACOM community at large to round up some pilot customers who would like to test out the Stratus service in that AOR.”

Seville said that the agency is looking for customers with already existing workloads on premises at their facilities or hosted in the agency’s facilities in Hawaii. The agency said it is also interested in customers looking to “dip their toe into cloud.”

“We hear a lot of people basically saying, ‘I just need to get out of my data center.’ But instead of playing sort of the data center hockey game … maybe we have a customer that would like to take advantage of some cloud capabilities, some elastic scale, some utility billing, some virtualization, and move from physical servers over to more of a cloud-like platform,” Seville said.

Seville added that the agency is also looking for customers who might already have offerings in CONUS Stratus regions that want to create an “OCONUS web” or “data synchronization or data transfer between CONUS and OCONUS facilities inside of the Stratus platform.”

Last week, DOD released a memo calling on the service branches to use the JWCC contract to purchase cloud capabilities and services across all classification levels moving forward.

“As a first step in this process, the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) components and Defense Agencies and Field Activities (DAFAs) will use the JWCC contract vehicle for all available offerings to procure future enterprise cloud-computing capabilities and services,” the memo said. “All cloud capabilities and services currently under contract in OSD Components, and DAFAs will transition to the JWCC vehicle upon expiration of their current period of performance.”

“We really are in a place where we need to make sure that we look at our entire cloud landscape, rationalize our cloud landscape, enable the military departments to make sure that they continue to use their platforms to optimize cloud,” Deputy CIO for Information Enterprise Lily Zeleke said at the event.

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