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DHS outlines cloud, data center modernization strategy

The Department of Homeland Security is planning to move to a modernized cloud-based infrastructure and consolidate two key enterprise computing data centers.

DHS is working on "a hybrid, multi-cloud, federated and vendor neutral" cloud strategy and wants to take advantage of automation, shared services and analytics and reduce fixed costs, such as data centers, according to a request for information released Feb. 19.

The department established a steering group last year  to focus its efforts on a comprehensive, multi-cloud environment across DHS and migrating legacy applications. Currently, 6 percent of its 628 applications are in the cloud, and DHS plans  to have 30 percent migrated by next year.

The effort was designed to be led by DHS component agencies and based on their individual computing needs, while giving headquarters more visibility and continuous monitoring of applications and security in the cloud.

The department is also laying the groundwork for further consolidating its data center footprint. The RFI said DHS headquarters and components were told by Acting Deputy Secretary Claire Grady to make "appropriate plans" to prepare for the pending expiration of contracts for its two main enterprise computing centers, dubbed Data Center 1 and Data Center 2, in Mississippi and Virginia.

FCW, GCN's sibling site,  has learned that the department plans to eventually close Data Center 2 when its existing contract with HP expires in June 2020, moving some systems and physical equipment to the Mississippi location while migrating the remaining systems to the cloud. Data Center 2 supports 10 component agencies, 133 systems and 8,000 devices.

Meanwhile, the department will "continue to host and operate a number of systems on premise at Data Center 1," according to the RFI, but will look to further shrink and optimize space and computing power there as well.

The two locations have served as the primary anchor points for previous departmental data center consolidation efforts, but there is continued pressure from the Office of Management and Budget to consolidate further, and DHS wants to move toward more of a hybrid environment with increased reliance on commercial and private cloud providers.

Responses are due March 20.

This article was first posted to FCW, a sibling site to GCN.

About the Author

Derek B. Johnson is a senior staff writer at FCW, covering governmentwide IT policy, cybersecurity and a range of other federal technology issues.

Prior to joining FCW, Johnson was a freelance technology journalist. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, GoodCall News, Foreign Policy Journal, Washington Technology, Elevation DC, Connection Newspapers and The Maryland Gazette.

Johnson has a Bachelor's degree in journalism from Hofstra University and a Master's degree in public policy from George Mason University. He can be contacted at [email protected], or follow him on Twitter @derekdoestech.

Click here for previous articles by Johnson.


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