Defense Dept. Mulling Cloud in Data Center Containers

Agency wants third-party private cloud inside its network security perimeter

Yevgeniy Sverdlik

October 6, 2014

2 Min Read
Defense Dept. Mulling Cloud in Data Center Containers
Phoenix-based IO builds data center modules and has a cloud service that runs on OpenStack and Open Compute Project hardware.

The U.S. Department of Defense is considering private government cloud services hosted in a data center container deployed on its premises.

It is one of two options the DoD wants to evaluate as ways to integrate private cloud solutions by commercial service providers that will plug into its internal networks. The other option is to lease space in one of the department’s own data centers to the provider and host the cloud infrastructure there.

The DoD has issued a request for information about the options. The government uses these requests as part of an information gathering process, usually followed by a request for proposals, which contains a more detailed outline of what a certain agency needs, soliciting specific product or services offers from vendors.

While the two deployment models outlined in the document are fairly similar, the key difference is the physical separation of the containerized solution. The container would most likely be located close to a DoD data center it is serving and use that facility’s power and cooling resources.

In practice, the government cloud solution would sit within the department’s network security perimeter regardless of the hardware’s physical location.

The DoD is looking for cloud infrastructure services, including VM provisioning, object and block storage and support services, such as networking, identity, billing and resource management. The feds have not identified capacity of the private cloud, but the request is looking for information about a “small” 10,000-VM configuration, a “medium” 50,000-VM configuration and a “large” 200,000-VM one.

There is a multitude of private cloud solution providers out there, but the pool can get narrow very quickly as providers have to go through the government’s strict security certification processes.

Some providers, such as Phoenix-based IO, can provide both a container and a cloud infrastructure. IO builds its modules at a factory in Arizona and can ship them anywhere. It also has built a cloud services offering using the OpenStack architecture and Open Compute Project hardware.

Vendors like HP (how Hewlett-Packard Enterprise) and Dell have both the containers and the IT infrastructure products to deliver the full package.

Private cloud providers can also potentially partner with container makers to deliver the solution jointly.

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