Army’s New Schedule for Closing Data Centers

Published: January 25, 2017

ARMYCloud ComputingData CenterDEFENSEInformation Technology

Army Directive 2016-38 sets ambitious goals for data center consolidation. Can they be met?

Back in December 2016, the Secretary of the Army, frustrated by the Service’s poorly-executed effort to meet its data center closure targets, issued Directive 2016-38 mandating the Army close 60% of its roughly 1,200 data centers by the end of 2018 and 75% by 2025. The directive received wide attention in the trade press for its aggressive stance on closing data centers, rationalizing the Army’s tens of thousands of applications, and outlining the path toward the greater use of commercial cloud services. Two aspects of the directive generally not discussed, however, include the number of data centers the Army intends to close by when and how the Army intends to use contractor-services to achieve its goals. This post clears up both of those issues so that industry partners have a better understanding of what is supposed to happen when and potentially by whom.

Army’s Data Center Closure Schedule

Buried toward the back of the 88 page Directive is Table 2: Schedule of Data Center Closure by Command or Proponent. Table 2 lists the locations of the data centers to be closed, the kind of data center it is (i.e., an IPN – Installation Processing Node, SPPN – Special Purpose Processing Node, Server Closet, etc.), and what the target date is for closure. The data is laid out in a .pdf so it is difficult to get a handle on the overall schedule, which is why I’ve compiled the data into the chart below.

This picture provides a better sense of the level of effort that will be necessary to meet the overarching goals set forth in the Directive. One critical piece of information to remember is that the Army’s desired end state “includes all enterprise systems and applications being approved, planned, resourced, and migrated to enterprise hosting environments no later than 30 September 2018, contingent upon the availability of enterprise hosting environments.” In other words, the 227 closures scheduled for the end of FY 2018, in addition to the 60 closures scheduled for the end of FY 2017, means that the Army estimates it is running enterprise systems and applications in at least 287 of its data centers.

More important still is the caveat “contingent upon the availability of enterprise hosting environments,” which refers to the four Army Enterprise Data Centers (AEDCs) to be established at Ft. Bragg, Ft. Carson, Ft. Knox, and Redstone Arsenal. Of these four locations, only the AEDC at Redstone is beginning to take shape here in Q2 of FY 2017, including the private commercial cloud being stood up there by IBM as part of the pilot Army Private Cloud Enterprise (ACPE) contract.

Contract Support for the Program

The Army has not announced which contracts and contract vehicles it will use to identify, rationalize, and migrate enterprise applications before it closes data centers. It has, however, begun the competition for a consulting contract to coordinate a way forward. The forthcoming contract, called Army Data Center Consolidation Plan (ADCCP) Support is being competed by Product Lead,  Enterprise Computing at Army PEO EIS as a task order among 8(a) companies via the STARS II Government-Wide Acquisition Contract (GWAC).

The winner(s) of the ADDCP Support contract, estimated to be $50 million in value over one base year and four option years, will help define ideal architectures for applications, identify applications to be killed, modernized, or migrated, conduct application assessments, and identify target hosting environments (i.e., cloud or otherwise), etc., before migration work is then bid out among other contractors. This work will be done in coordination with the Army Application Migration Business Office (AAMBO). Look for those who win spots on the Army Cloud Computing Enterprise Transformation (ACCENT) contract vehicle to carry out some of this migration work, as well as the current and future holders of Army Private Cloud Enterprise (ACPE) contracts, and, possibly, some vendors bidding on ITES-3S task orders too.

Closing Thoughts

The Army has identified tens of thousands of applications it needs to kill, modernize, or migrate to new environments. The effort through FY 2018 will focus on enterprise applications. These are applications that the Army is most likely to want to retain in some fashion, so the most profitable portion of the migration and hosting effort is likely to be directly in front of us because apps that are not enterprise are more likely to be killed or replaced by commoditized cloud applications, like those provided by Microsoft, Google, etc. Lastly, if past is prelude, don’t expect the Army to meet its Q4 FY 2018 data center closure deadline. September 30, 2018 is only 21 months away and contract support isn’t in place. They have a long way to go.