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By GCN Staff

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Ethernet plug into cloud

VA plugs into the cloud with Office 365 for 600,000

The Veterans Affairs Department is among the latest agencies to announce a large-scale move to the cloud, with plans to transition 600,000 users to a cloud-based e-mail system with Microsoft Office 365 for Government.

Moving to the cloud enables VA to fulfill the “cloud first” federal mandate while anticipating improved employee productivity and collaboration and reduced costs. 

“VA is moving to cloud-based email and collaboration as part of a broader effort to leverage emerging technologies to reduce costs, increase efficiencies and, most importantly, improve service delivery to our nation’s veterans,” said Charles De Sanno, VA’s executive director of enterprise systems engineering, in the November 13 announcement.

VA will use Microsoft Office 365 for Government, which features a separate community cloud for e-mail, shared calendars, instant messaging, and Web and video conferencing. It also includes applications for productivity and collaboration, including cloud-based Office, Exchange, Lync and SharePoint.

The Obama administration’s “cloud first” mandate calls for agencies to move three applications to the cloud. Many agencies have responded by moving e-mail and/or office applications, often choosing between Microsoft Office 365 and Google Apps for Government.

VA awarded HP Enterprise Services a five-year contract valued at $36 million for the department-wide email and calendaring infrastructure. HP will lead and manage the Office 365 implementation, which VA expects will enhance reliability, security, privacy and compliance as well as create geographically diverse disaster recovery.

The agreement was awarded under the Veterans Administration Transformation Twenty-One Total Technology (VA T4) program, VA’s IT modernization contract. The transition to the cloud system will begin with 15,000 employees and expand to the full 600,000 when all contract options are executed.

Posted by Rutrell Yasin on Dec 17, 2012 at 9:39 AM


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