DISA in high gear on MilCloud migration

Facing an accelerated schedule, the Defense Information Systems Agency is staffing up and adding training to help DOD agencies migrate to MilCloud 2.0.

cloud migration

The Defense Information Systems Agency is making serious progress with its MilCloud 2.0 migration in the shadows of the Defense Department's closely watched Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud efforts.

FCW sat down with DISA cloud chief John Hale and MilCloud program manager Caroline Bean to get an update on the agency's efforts to help other DOD services and components shift to MilCloud's second iteration by 2019.

"We don't know how big that migration is going to be yet," Hale said, "The initial target numbers were about 14,000 workloads." He added that there are about 700 applications that need to be migrated, each of which could have multiple components and servers.

The original migration target for MilCloud 2.0 was January 2020, but DOD leadership sped up the timeline. And to make it happen, Hale said he's staffing up support teams.

"In the overall picture, we anticipated one or two migration teams focused on helping mission partners move from whatever environment they were in to MilCloud 2," said Hale. "With the decision to accelerate the adoption of MilCloud 2 across the department, we're increasing the number of teams that we have to do that."

Hale said the ramped up support would mostly consist of contract labor -- a total of eight migration teams, approximately 50 additional people. That workforce would shrink back following the acceleration and paid for by the mission partners – not DISA -- as they move applications.

DISA started its MilCloud 2.0 migration May 1, starting with the DISA applications first that are on MilCloud 1.0, followed by those located in the DISA data centers. And to accelerate the timeline, DISA is offering tools that empower clients to manage their own cloud migrations.

Bean also said DISA was "creating different teams, user guides, self-help tools to the MilCloud 2 portal to make it easier for system administrators coming in to do training," in the new environment and help them through the majority of the migration.

While infrastructure-as-a-service is DISA's primary focus, Bean said platform- and software-as-a-service are also priorities.

Also, on the horizon is classified data for MilCloud, which could come by the end of the year.

"DISA was very smart in the way the y set up that contract because it does give us the flexibility to innovate quickly," said Donald Robinson, General Dynamics IT Defense CTO at a media roundtable for General Dynamics IT's Emerging Tech Day May 30.

"We can bring new capabilities new services new offerings. We're already in talks with other Emerging Tech Day participants in bringing new services and caps, making them available on DOD nets through MilCloud."

Robinson said there's no exact date when DISA will be able to operate MilCloud at Impact Level 6, but he's working with DISA with an eye towards end of 2018 or early 2019.

And when it comes to JEDI, Hale said MilCloud will fit in just fine.

"I think at the end of the day, what you're going to see is the capabilities that we're talking about are complementary and ultimately it's all geared towards allowing the warfighter to complete the mission," Hale said. "It's not really about the technology or contracts."

Washington Technology Senior Staff Writer Ross Wilkers contributed reporting for this article.