DISA expands access to ProjectForge cloud environment

Forge.mil program links DOD software developers, users in cloud environment

The Defense Information Systems Agency has widened access to its ProjectForge cloud computing service in order to offer Defense Department users an open-source environment with private project portals to share software, lessons learned and best practices.

The platform currently is in limited operating availability capacity for individual DOD projects or programs. DISA originally opened it only to the Army and Navy, but on Jan. 13 expanded it to include other military branches, DOD civilian employees and contractors.

The fee-for-service capability, part of DISA’s forge.mil program, is expected to save DOD “significantly” by centralizing project operations and achieving economies of scale, according to Rob Vietmeyer, the forge.mil program manager.  

Customers looking to create their own collaborative development platform have to fund start-up, operation and maintenance costs, which can run up to $1 million, Vietmeyer said. ProjectForge covers that ground to allow users to immediately establish projects, he said.

“This is a foundation for [information technology] acquisition reform,” Vietmeyer said.

The site has 4,000 registered users on 170 hosted projects, and more than 500 software releases. Forge.mil can operate on DOD’s classified Secure IP Router Network and also the Unclassified but Sensitive IP Router Network. 

ProjectForge’s predecessor, SoftwareForge, has been available for public use, but the new system can allow for data protection and access control. The environment is customizable although users cannot change core product functionalities, Vietmeyer said.

ProjectForge is leveraging DOD infrastructure and helping adopt best practices for cloud computing, Vietmeyer said. Incorporating a social networking approach helps foster a community of evolution, and enhances collaboration while yielding quicker response time and better command and control and situational awareness, he added.

Fees range between $60,000 and $250,000, depending on customer size and needs, Vietmeyer said.

About the Author

Amber Corrin is a former staff writer for FCW and Defense Systems.

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