VA looks to NITAAC for cloud

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The Department of Veterans Affairs has chosen a National Institutes of Health governmentwide acquisition contract for its cloud modernization project.

In a July 8 FedBizOpps , the VA said it hannouncementad determined that an NIH Information Technology Acquisition and Assessment Center contract vehicle was the solution for its Enterprise Cloud Services for IT Infrastructure Modernization acquisition strategy.

In April, the VA issued a request for information via FedBizOpps seeking to create a partnership with a cloud services broker -- a single provider that would act as a gateway to a range of cloud options from multiple vendors.

VA CIO LaVerne Council said the move to cloud services was part of the agency's "buy first" strategy, a push that covers network modernization, development platforms, infrastructure and enterprise software. Officials also wanted to move a range of IT functions to the cloud, including unified communications and data hosting.

Instead, VA appears to have shifted its strategy by opting to use NITAAC's vendor list as a starting point for its cloud procurement.

The VA maintains more than 365 data centers and 800 custom applications, and moving to the cloud is a way to simplify its portfolio and secure data and IT assets, Council said.

One example of a sprawling asset portfolio is the VA's homegrown electronic health records system VistA, which has more than 130 instances at separate locations. Reimagining VistA as a cloud-based system is an integral part of VA's planned shift to a digital health platform.

NITAAC's primary cloud services contract is CIO Commodities and Solutions. CIO-CS provides pre-competed contracts for IT products and services, and NIH said the contracting vehicle allows government customers to address federal policies, such as FedRAMP, with a five-year performance period and a potential $20 billion ceiling.

Government buyers can also use CIO-CS to access suppliers that offer software- and platform-as-a-service solutions.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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