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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

Army moves deeper into the cloud with enterprise IT effort

As more details emerge on the Army’s Enterprise IT as a Service initiative, one thing is clear – the service wants collaboration and cooperation among its facilities and among its vendors.

Known as EITaaS, the initiative is just at the beginning phases as the Army develops at leart one pilot to explore how to move its IT infrastructure to the cloud.

No dollar signs are attached yet, but the project has a broad scope and is a priority. The Army calls its network “the foundational weapons platform for the entire force.” 

The pilot will assess the feasibility of using commercial solutions for data transport, end-user device provision, and cloud services. The pilot will look at whether private-sector IT infrastructure investments, operations and best practices will work for the Army and support the investments the service has made in its network.

The challenge the Army faces is that its current level of investment cannot meet the Army’s evolving warfighting requirements for multi-domain operations by 2028. The Army has 288 bases and other facilities around the world, and each has unique hardware configurations, data strategies, and application architectures. Increasingly, management and the procurement of new services, hardware and software is not effective and too expensive, the Army said in its solicitation documents.

The Army is complaining that its data and applications reside across government, tactical, commercial and hybrid cloud capabilities and “not is collaborative environments.”

The draft statement of work implies that the Army is looking at an eventual multiple award contract, but it states that “service providers(s) must collaborate to ensure seamless interoperability between all lines of effort.”

There are three lines of effort described in the draft:

  • LOE 1: Network as a service
  • LOE 2: End user services
  • LOE 3: Compute and store

In its recently released answers to industry questions, the Army puts the onus on industry to describe what they see as the problem. Respondents to the RFI need to demonstrate their understanding of the problem and the solution.

The Army’s effort is just the latest example of the government’s desire to move away from in-house IT solutions and more towards a commercial cloud model. DOD as a whole wants to do this with JEDI and DEOS. The intelligence community has launched its Cloud Computing Enterprise initiative as well.

We’ve argued back and forth about what approach is better – a single award or a mutliple award – but the trend is clear. The commercial cloud is the backbone of the government’s future IT infrastructure.

In the Army's case, they already have some individual commercial cloud implementations along with all of their homegrown infrastructure. EITaas is an effort to move deeper into a commercial cloud while leveraging the investments the Army already has in place.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Apr 22, 2019 at 9:57 AM

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