DISA plans new supercomputer connections

Agency is seeking help for new communications systems

The Defense Information Systems Agency is planning to upgrade the network connecting its supercomputers. In a request for proposals released on Monday, the agency began the first steps in the acquisition process to begin laying down a new communications system that will connect several Defense Department supercomputing centers.

Under the RFP, the Defense Research and Engineering Network III (DREN III) contract will create a network consisting of more than 200 service delivery points with varying bandwidths scattered across the continental United States and overseas. According to the proposal, the contract duration will be a three-year base period with seven one-year options.

NextGov reports that the proposed high speed system will connect some 4,300 researchers across the country to six DOD supercomputing facilities. While the new program will update DREN’s capabilities, the system, which has been in service since 2002, currently provides a high-capacity, low-latency national network linking the DOD’s high-performance computing centers and other networks. It is the official DOD long-haul network for scientific computational research, engineering and testing in support of the department’s various research and technical communities.

DREN has also been at the forefront of the federal move to IPv6. GCN has previously reported about the program’s shift from IPv4 to IPv6. The new protocol provides systems with enhanced security and a greater number of Internet addresses; addressed under the IPv4 protocol are swiftly running out. However, DOD officials recently told GCN that agencies must make sure that any new software and equipment purchases must be IPv6 compatible.  

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