Matthew G. Bisanz via Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0

The FAA awarded a $109 million contract Monday to IT services firm CSC and its team of previous rivals — including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and other strategic business partners — to deliver cost-effective cloud services, data center consolidation and cloud migration capabilities.

Under the contract, which could be worth $1 billion over the next decade, CSC’s team will consolidate FAA data centers and migrate FAA data and systems to a hybrid cloud environment. The team will use the CSC Agility Platform cloud management tool to orchestrate efficient cloud deployment while leveraging alliance partners for data and cloud services.

“CSC and our alliance partners are demonstrating the unique value that we as a team can bring to deliver an innovative, next-gen IT cloud solution that drives the FAA’s mission forward,” said Mike Lawrie, CSC’s president and chief executive officer. “By coming together as we have, we are in a unique position to help meet the agency’s operational and budgetary challenges over the life of the program.”

The FAA said it expects to see marked improvement in operational efficiency. The move away from physical data centers is designed to increase efficiencies and flexibilities while saving time and money — all while making it easier for the agency to share information.

“We’ll provide the FAA with next-generation cloud brokerage services to meet evolving cloud computing needs, increase efficiencies, reduce operating costs and improve information sharing,” said Heather L. Williams, CSC’s North American Public Sector Communications Director, in an emailed statement to MeriTalk.

“Our work on FAA infrastructure and end-user service programs, including support for its migration to a cloud enterprise messaging system, gives us a hands-on understanding of the agency’s requirements and procedures,” said Larry Prior, executive vice president and general manager of CSC’s North American Public Sector. “We’ll build on this experience to implement program requirements, minimize cloud implementation risks, and reduce overall IT costs.”

CSC’s cloud brokerage model is built on a partner ecosystem that delivers competitively-priced hybrid cloud services and capabilities with the flexibility to evolve to meet changing requirements. The team’s solution combines CSC’s on-premises services with FedRAMP-certified cloud services from AWS and Microsoft Azure. Over the term of the contract, CSC’s team intends to continuously drive value for the FAA by fostering price competition using its innovative cloud brokerage services approach.

Susie Adams, Microsoft’s chief technology officer, said the contract does a lot to setup the FAA for long-term success and it will be an important program for other federal agencies to learn from. “They’ve chosen a very diverse [team] and that’s going to really help them to be able to look at things and choose the right environment to be able to move their workloads to,” Adams said, in an interview with MeriTalk. “It’s not going to be all or nothing. They will truly be able to operate in a hybrid world so they can move workloads back and forth without a lot of effort.”

The length of the contract will also help FAA keep up with the pace of innovation, according to Adams. Companies like Microsoft are introducing new services and capabilities on a monthly basis. But through the new cloud contract, the FAA should be positioned to easily and quickly take advantage of a wide array of technologies regardless of the operating sysems, data or developers involved, Adams said.

Improved security should be another major benefit of the deal, Adams said. “Even in a private cloud envionrment the level of automation is going to truly help them do simple hygiene, like patching,” Adams said. “All of this is highly automated in the cloud environment.”

Judi Hasson is a MeriTalk contributing writer.

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