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Treasury might change cloud hosts

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The Treasury Department is in the market for a long-term cloud-based host for its flagship Treasury.gov website and a handful of other sites, according to solicitation documents.

The Treasury sites currently are hosted in Amazon’s EC2 cloud, which also houses numerous other federal sites, including several Energy Department sites and the economic stimulus program fund-tracking Recovery.gov.

Tuesday’s request for information doesn’t prohibit Amazon from bidding on the new contract.

Treasury moved to the EC2 cloud in 2010 with a contract that also included modernizing its Web presence. That contract included one base year and one option year.

“This procurement brevity allowed Treasury . . . to sample the benefits of cloud hosting without committing to a long-term contractual agreement,” the RFI said. “Treasury now seeks a comprehensive contract vehicle designed to enable flexibility to manage the existing services and accommodate the dynamic requirements of the department and the bureaus moving forward. The new contract will allow much greater latitude to the government while still giving industry the ability to offer a cutting-edge solution to an existing requirement.”

A primary benefit of cloud hosting for agencies is it allows them to adjust the amount of data and storage they use without purchasing new infrastructure.

Parts of the EC2 cloud crashed in April 2011, temporarily bringing down an Energy Department site but not any Treasury sites. Amazon’s cloud was affected June 29 when a data center in Northern Virginia experienced power outages following a major storm, although no government sites were reported down in that case.

Government officials expect to save $5 billion annually by moving one-fourth of the federal information technology footprint to the cloud.

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