JEDI will ease DOD’s FITARA woes, but when?

BY Ben Ball

The latest FITARA scorecard released by the House Oversight Committee criticizes the Department of Defense yet again. 

Of the eight categories covered in the report, DOD’s letter grade was an “F” in five of them.  Citing data reported to Congress and multiple GAO reports, the Committee took DOD to task for failing to break up IT projects into manageable chunks, identify duplicative IT spending, optimize software licensing agreements, and move away from costly legacy IT investments.

DOD's FITARA scorecard

In a response to the committee, DOD CIO Dana Deasy noted the challenge of addressing the complicated thicket of IT spending in an agency as large as DOD.  He was able to foreshadow progress in one particular area, however – data center consolidation.

The Data Center Consolidation Initiative (DCOI) was created in 2014 as a way of trimming down the out-of-control costs of data centers throughout the Federal government.  Since the program’s creation, DOD has closed 834 data centers, with an additional 1,112 closures planned for the current fiscal year.

This massive shift in resources begs the question – how will DOD meet its computing needs as all of these data centers are eliminated?  Enter the JEDI program, which is designed to move a significant amount of computing power away from both data centers and private clouds and into a COTS cloud offering.  The financial advantages of this approach are clear – JEDI will finally allow DOD to pay for compute based on what it actually uses instead of its perceived capacity requirements.

Raaaaahghuuhuhgh? (That’s Wookie for “Want

to learn more about JEDI cloud migration?”)

When will this happen? 

It appears that DOD has a path toward dramatically decreasing its reliance on data centers and moving towards a business-standard cloud environment.  The question now is when all of this will happen.  DOD is aiming to have the JEDI contract awarded by the end of September, but with protests looming and recent slippages on release of the final RFP, things may not go according to plan.

Even when JEDI is awarded, it will take DOD agencies some time to migrate.  It takes an average of eighteen months between contract award and the start of any Federal cloud migration.  One of the main reasons for this is the lack of preparation around DNS infrastructure.  Without the ability to control and manage cloud resources from a single place, organizing and implementing a move to the cloud can become overly complicated and difficult.

What else needs improvement?

Going back to DOD’s FITARA scorecard, one of the other “F” grades comes in the area of incremental development.  JEDI is a good example of a DOD initiative which attempts to wipe the slate clean in a single stroke. 

In our experience, however, moving assets and compute into the cloud is a gradual process best approached in bite-sized chunks.  DOD agencies would do well to follow Congress’s direction on this front, using the remainder of this year to get their DNS in order before tackling the significant work involved in moving to the new JEDI cloud. 

Learn more about how BlueCat can ease the path to the JEDI cloud here.

Ben Ball

Ben Ball is the Director of Strategy and Content Marketing at BlueCat. Ben served for ten years as a Federal employee, with three tours as a Foreign Service Officer (Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Jordan), and five years at the Department of Homeland Security, where he focused on immigration issues. A graduate of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and Pitzer College, Ben lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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