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FCW : April 30, 2014
Cloud computing 26 April 30, 2014 FCW.COM "Jackpine Technologies has proprietary information and critical knowledge of the integration tool and the technical infrastructure [that] is utilized in the development of the DOD milCloud, not possessed or available to any other known contractor." Jackpine of cials did not respond to inquiries from FCW. What about cost and performance? DISA is not sharing milCloud s price points, but DISA Chief of Staff Brig. Gen. Frederick Henry was recently quoted as saying that milCloud s costs for services are comparable to providers such as Amazon Web Services, "but in a more secure fashion." AWS did not comment when FCW asked about the comparison. It is inter- esting to note, however, that the CIA awarded a $600 million contract to AWS in 2013 to build a cloud infrastructure for the intelligence community so that the agency could avoid the cost pitfalls and challenges of doing the work itself. MilCloud will be DISA s third approach to internally offered cloud computing services since the Secure Technology Application Execution and the Rapid Access Computing Environ- ment were launched in 2010. Both pro- grams will expire in 2014, and milCloud is a likely destination for those services DOD customers. Although pricing comparisons might still be fuzzy, what is clear from existing information is that milCloud has perfor- mance issues to address. A brief obtained by FCW that appears to come from a pilot test of the milCloud environment in December notes myri- ad issues, including several multihour downtimes, one of which approached a full day in duration. Other general nd- ings include virtual machines with slow (120 kilobytes/sec) transfer rates, users being disconnected every 15 seconds to 10 minutes for virtual private network access and timeouts during large asset loads. Mihelcic admitted that provisioned orders were taking longer than DISA would like at the two Defense Enter- prise Computing Centers where mil- Cloud is currently deployed. "We have it down to hours now," he said, though the stated goal is minutes or seconds. It is unclear whether those issues can easily be xed. Also unclear is the total cost of milCloud. DISA officials said about ve man-years went into building it, including the use of primarily govern- ment employees to design the cloud, conduct the pilot tests and implement the operational system. DISA also spent about $500,000 on management tools in addition to the contract with Jackpine. DISA must "fully recover all its costs for anything we do in milCloud," Mihelcic said, adding that funding for the project comes from the Defense- Wide Working Capital Fund, which is required to break even each year. There- fore, a higher cost to build and manage milCloud translates to higher costs for customers. Amid all the questions and compet- ing opinions, one point is undisputed: DISA clearly wants DOD agencies to use cloud services. Time will tell whether those agencies favor DISA s system. ■ The Defense Department has granted provisional authority to operate to four cloud solutions thus far: the Autonomic Resources Cloud Platform, CGI Federal s infrastructure-as-a-service solution, and Amazon Web Services GovCloud and US East/West public cloud. Each of the four solutions has been assessed against additional security controls on top of the baseline stan- dards they met under the government- wide Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP). They can now compete DOD-wide for cloud computing contracts under the Defense Information Systems Agency s catalog of enterprise cloud service brokers. However, those cloud service provid- ers (CSPs) have been authorized for DOD Impact Levels 1 and 2, which cover the department s unclassi ed public and unclassi ed private information. DISA assigns impact levels to data depending on its type and con dentiality, integrity, and availability in categorizations of low, moderate or high risk under Federal Information Processing Standard Publi- cation 199. The bulk of DOD s cloud savings is expected to occur at Impact Levels 3-5, which signify higher-risk unclassi- ed data, but providers have yet to be assessed against those standards. In an emailed statement, DISA Chief Technology Of cer David Mihelcic said he anticipates formal assessments at Impact Levels 3-5 to begin in the second quarter of this year. Impact Level 6 is designated for classi ed information, and draft standards for commercial CSPs have not been formally released for that level. Requirements and criteria for levels 3-5 were made available to industry in December 2013, Mihelcic said. A source told FCW that one reason for the lag between standards release and potential assessments is a delay in the publication of draft templates by DISA for CSPs to create their system security plans. "The CSPs are left basically waiting for the form, " the source said. DOD s cautious path to the cloud has been a point of contention among many commercial cloud providers that view such slow efforts as contrary to the Obama administration s cloud- rst pol- icy. But some positive signs have come from DOD CIO Teri Takai. She recently told a subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee that nine CSPs are in the pipeline for approval to provide services to DOD. --- Frank Konkel DOD approves 4 cloud solutions for departmentwide use
April 15, 2014
May 15, 2014