(30-Jul-10) It takes the defense industry years to design and build a new tank or jet fighter. But when it comes to cloud computing, the Defense Information Systems Agency has rolled out services faster than most of its civilian counterparts and with a speed that rivals the private sector.
DISA, which provides IT support for the Defense Department, built its own private cloud called Rapid Access Computing Environment in 2008. RACE lets Defense agencies rent servers and storage space so they can test and deploy new applications quickly and affordably without having to buy and install their own hardware.
DISA continues to embrace cloud computing. It has built Forge.mil, a cloud service for software developers to access development tools, share software components and collaborate. The agency offers real-time communication and collaboration tools over the cloud, including web conferencing, blogging and wiki software. Most recently, DISA announced a pilot to make file storage and Microsoft Office applications available to employees as hosted software.