The Defense Information Systems Agency shutdown the milCloud 2.0 platform a week ahead of schedule.
Sharon Woods, the director of the Host and Compute Center at DISA, said her team successfully transitioned 120 accounts off of milCloud 2.0 ahead of the June 8 deadline. Of the 120 accounts, 95 were on milCloud 2.0 and the rest were in a commercial cloud already and didn’t need to be transferred.
“Of the 95, 60 of those went to Stratus, DISA’s private cloud offering, 18 of them went to commercial cloud, and then there were 17 whose accounts they just let expire. They were typically research and development or sandbox environments that had already served their purpose. In total, it’s over 1,700 terabytes of data and 820 virtual machines,” Woods said in an exclusive interview with Federal News Network. “milCloud 2.0 is sunsetting and milCloud 1.0 is sunset as well. That, as a capability, no longer exists. For Stratus, we did consume some of that very basic underlying infrastructure of milCloud 1.0, but then immediately layered on a lot of new capabilities so that it became a new capability unto itself.”
DISA’s decision in December to end its milCloud relationship with GDIT was surprising and unexpected. DISA awarded a contract to CSRA in June 2017 to develop and run the commercial cloud offering. GDIT bought CSRA in April 2018 for $9.7 billion. The milCloud 2.0 contract included a three-year base with five one-year options, and it was worth as much as $498 million. This June would have been the third option period for the program.
Woods said the self-imposed six-month deadline created an urgency that required people and resources from across DISA to help meet.
“I think some of the things that helped make this work was when I say it was an all hands on deck within DISA, it wasn’t just the team that historically had worked on milCloud 2.0, we surged a lot of our personnel in order to help customers do this,” she said. “We know that this was difficult for customers to receive, this was not desired news. So DISA really made a commitment to serve as many people as possible to try and alleviate as much burden on the customers themselves. We’ve had relationships with all of these customers for years. We know their capabilities and we know their applications. With us having more resources at the table, I think that was really key in making the transition, and our customers were all so collaborative. That is also something that I think was a key driver in the success.”
There were some applications that Woods and her team weren’t sure could transition in six months. While she wouldn’t offer any specifics, she said some customers with an “enormous amount of data in their applications” took more effort, especially those that were on outdated or legacy versions of software.
“I will admit that we were a little nervous about the timing because of how much data was in certain applications,” Woods said.
Of the 18 workloads that went to a commercial cloud, it was a final step the services or Defense agencies had been preparing for over the last few years to get the applications “cloud ready.”
“I see that as a positive move, if commercial cloud is the right environment for a mission partner, then that’s where they should be to meet their requirements,” she said. “At the Hosting and Compute Center, one of our key philosophies is being an honest broker. So sometimes that means consuming an offering that we’re providing, like Stratus as a private cloud environment, but other times it may mean going to a commercial cloud provider. We have the expertise to help guide customers in the different ways they could meet their requirements and which ones might be the best for them.”
DISA refunding money still a question
One big question that emerged after DISA’s decision to sunset milCloud 2.0 was what would happen to the funding already transferred by DoD customers to pay for the services.
Woods said for the 60 workloads that went to Stratus and the 17 that sunset altogether, there were no refund questions or challenges. But for the 18 that left DISA altogether, she said her office is working through the specifics around the period of performance and funding type for each particular task order.
“They may end up returning money, but I don’t have the exact numbers. We’re still just finalizing the exact numbers, but we’ve been working on that with them since the very beginning,” she said. “We have done everything we possibly can to make sure that customers have control over their funding. And I mentioned this before, this was a surprise and unexpected announcement to the customers. So DISA searched every resource that we had to be creative and figure out how to make this work for customers.”