VA considering changes to its enterprise cloud structure

The US Department of Veterans Affairs building is seen in Washington, DC, on July 22, 2019. (Photo by Alastair Pike / AFP)

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The Department of Veterans Affairs is looking to potentially change the current mix of providers it depends on for enterprise cloud services.

The contract through which the VA procures enterprise cloud services is set to expire next year. In anticipation of that, the department issued a request for information that considers the possibility of adding to or replacing the two industry providers — Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services — it currently relies on for its cloud needs.

“VA is seeking input from FedRAMP High certified CSPs to determine the impact (i.e., cost, operational, schedule) of replacing one or both of VA’s existing CSPs, and/or the value and benefit (i.e., cost, technical) of expanding its existing VAEC to include additional CSPs,” the RFI states.

While the VA wants to hear from providers on what they could offer, the potential benefits of expanding its enterprise cloud or replacing a provider, and how much work it would take to get it done, the department acknowledges upfront that such changes would likely “result in duplicative costs, schedule and operational impacts.”

On top of that, the VA seems content with what the service it has received since its enterprise cloud environment was launched in 2018. The current model “not only has been meeting VA’s cloud computing needs for Mission Act, Colmery Act, and other government mandates as well as IT Modernization and DevSecOps solutions supporting Benefits, Health, Enterprise and Corporate portfolios, but was also critical in staying ahead of surges in telework and telehealth solutions throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” the RFI states.

The solicitation also gives data on the surging workloads the VA has handled in the enterprise cloud in recent years, such as processing more than 20 million calls per day through its Veterans Benefits Management System and supporting a surge in telehealth services since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last month during FedTalks, now-former acting CIO Dominic Cussatt told FedScoop the VA is “relying heavily on cloud” and anticipated adding to that in the future. At the time, the VA had migrated 127 applications to its enterprise cloud with 76 in the process of migrating to it. While a small fraction of the VA’s more than 700 IT applications, those currently in the cloud tend to be the VA’s largest and most important workloads, like the Veterans Benefits Management System and its electronic health record, Cussatt said.

Reponses to the RFI are due by Oct. 4.

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Amazon Web Services (AWS), Cloud, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Microsoft
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