DISA looks to infrastructure as code for faster cloud deployment

As it can take more than a year to securely configure, deploy and accredit cloud services – even after authorization by the after Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program and and provisional authorization from the Defense Information Systems Agency – DISA’s Cloud Computing Program Office (CCPO) is looking for a cloud developer to help it deploy infrastructure-as-code (IaC) capabilities so it can automate configuration for multiple missions in one or more cloud environments.

IaC allows developers to manage and provision an operations environment – networks, virtual machines, connections, etc. -- through machine-readable definition files, rather than by physically configuring hardware. That means the environment can be managed the same way software is – allowing for version control and continuous monitoring, and limiting inconsistency among environments. It also makes it easy for developers to rapidly create stable environments for development, test and production workloads.

In a July 8 draft request for information CCPO said it is looking for IaC capabilities that use automation to generate preconfigured, preauthorized, platform-as-a-service cloud environments in the Defense Department enterprise. 

Additionally, the IaC code should be developed at the lowest possible classification level and must support native security services offered by cloud service providers in a DOD-accessible repository. Besides simplifying and automating the environment configuration process, the IaC catalogue should be queryable, accessible across the DOD enterprise and usable by a general enterprise cloud user with appropriate account privileges.

The Department of Veterans Affairs used IaC for its Benefits Integration Platform (BIP), allowing it to spin up, tear down and rebuild a new environment in a matter of minutes.

“Every time we need to build a new server -- whether it’s a test environment or a production environment -- it’s always exactly the same,” Dan McCune, executive director of application management at VA told GCN in January. “We can now do that with the BIP platform. We can spin up a brand-new environment. We can tear it down completely and rebuild it in about 12 minutes.”

Responses are due July 22. More information on DISA’s IaC project can be found here.

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