government cloud

Treasury maps out long-term plans for T-Cloud

To help meet the growing demand for cloud services, the Treasury Department has released a new acquisition roadmap designed to shepherd the IRS and the rest of the enterprise into the cloud era.

The roadmap aims to consolidate Treasury's scattered cloud initiatives and pursue a shared-service cloud infrastructure model to capture departmentwide efficiencies in access, contracting and security.

Treasury said it expects a year-long effort to capture requirements, develop the solicitation release it, evaluate and finally award it. The "desired end-state" for T-Cloud will be a $1 billion, enterprisewide, seven-year contract for a suite of cloud and professional services across multiple providers.  Those providers likely would include Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, Google and Oracle as well as more "niche" software- and platform-as-a-service offerings.

The department laid out tentative plans to issue a conceptual pre-solicitation to industry next year, with a formal acquisition expected to be awarded by 2022. It also described a range of contracting actions to keep the department's cloud programs humming along between now and then, including three- to four-year short-term "bridge" contracts for core cloud services and a recompete for a $200 million Amazon Web Services reseller contract set to expire next year.

The road map also included plans to increase the total contract ceiling for the department's shared services Workplace Community Cloud from $6.4 million to $9.6 million to support migration of a number of pending IRS cloud projects, such as their Enterprise Case Management System, Joint Innovation Lab and Continuous Diagnostics and Migration programs. While federal agencies have had the green light to move their infrastructure and services to the cloud since 2010, the IRS has for years endured accusations from Treasury auditors and others that it lacks a fundamental strategy to take advantage of the technology.

By contrast, the Office of the CIO at the Department of Treasury, which houses IRS, currently uses AWS and Microsoft to host the Workplace Community Cloud while also relying on providers like Oracle, Box, Acquia, ServiceNow, Salesforce and CEvent to provide additional services. According to the road map, Treasury expects its consumption of cloud-based services to grow by more than 30% every year for the foreseeable future.

One of the big takeaways from the roadmap is that IRS and Treasury must be smart about what they purchase and which provider they choose to go with, lest they become locked into one platform until pricing changes make a wholesale replacement financially feasible.

"The reality is that every [cloud service provider] has specific strengths and weaknesses tied to exclusive proprietary technical features, and the unique requirements for a workload will often make one cloud better suited than another from both a performance and cost standpoint," the roadmap stated.

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

About the Author

Derek B. Johnson is a former senior staff writer at FCW.


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