Dell EMC: $1B Air Force Cloud Project Is Just the Beginning

Mitch Wagner

The United States Air Force's $1 billion contract to move 776,000 users to the cloud for collaboration is just the beginning of how the service arm can take advantage of the cloud, according to a Dell EMC executive.

The Air Force awarded a $1 billion contract to Dell EMC , General Dynamics Corp. and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) for a five-year transition to Office 365, Dell EMC announced Thursday. The program, called Cloud Hosted Enterprise Services (CHES), follows the $296 million Collaboration Pathfinder contract awarded by the Air Force to the same companies two years ago, migrating more than 140,000 users. (See US Air Force Awards $1B Cloud Contract.)

During Collaboration Pathfinder, 3,000 to 5,000 users per week migrated to the cloud without service interruption, Cameron Chehreh, Dell EMC Federal chief technology officer, tells Enterprise Cloud News.

United States Air Force 355th Security Force Squadron guardsman, Senior Airman Mario Fajardo, stands guard  at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.
United States Air Force 355th Security Force Squadron guardsman, Senior Airman Mario Fajardo, stands guard at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

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Collaboration Pathfinder and CHES could be just the beginning for the Air Force, which can build private clouds on-premises, and use the open APIs of Office 365 to connect to the public cloud for a hybrid cloud services, Chehreh says.

Dell is prime vendor on the contract and is supplying servers, storage and networking to Microsoft's government cloud, which is providing Office 365 services. General Dynamics is the fifth-largest defense contractor in the world.

Dell will provide consulting on user migration, as well as training, assisting on end-user setup, moving certificates for security profiles, and other "workforce transformation" services, Chehreh says.

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[email protected]
9/29/2017 | 9:43:22 PM
Re: Efficiency and cost reduction
Yes the deployment will be interesting because it could become the standard for other branches of the military if successful It will undoubtedly be complex on many different levels beyond just the technology aspect.
[email protected]
9/26/2017 | 1:59:47 PM
Re: Efficiency and cost reduction
True security is always an issue but it should not stop getting the best solution if our military could benefit through efficiencies with the cloud --security should be managed as another factor in implementation.
9/25/2017 | 8:07:52 AM
Re: Efficiency and cost reduction
The collaboaration on this project does seem like an immensely complicated one or at least could be if not well coordinated between the companies. But getting one of the largest contracts ever off the ground for the Air Force will be interesting to watch.
9/24/2017 | 11:55:29 AM
Re: Efficiency and cost reduction
Everyone needs collaboration - especially the government.

Security for implementations like this have to be important. Here's hoping this cloud project is properly secured. 
[email protected]
9/22/2017 | 1:23:50 PM
Efficiency and cost reduction
It is a step in the right direction, when I review our national budget I am always floored by the dollar amount used to maintain our military. Automation upgraded systems and better technology have got to help drive down costs long term and hopefully improve efficiencies. Hopefully, other branches of our military will be able to leverage technology to address weaknesses and address the cost.
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