According to a RFI published on last month, the FBI has its head in the clouds, but wants to keep its feet firmly planted on-premise.

The RFI requests information from commercial providers about constructing an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) network on premise at the FBI Criminal Justice Information Services division in Clarksburg, W.Va. The FBI anticipates this new private cloud would support multiple locations across the country.

A private cloud would enable the FBI to tap into the inherent efficiency and flexibility of the cloud model. According to the RFI and a good overview article by Henry Kenyon at FierceGovernmentIT, the FBI is looking to the new system to enable and leverage multiple new functionalities, including:

  • automated administration;

  • centralized remote administration;

  • dynamic scalability;

  • multipath resource access;

  • local geo-site resiliency and;

  • “pay-as-you-go” capabilities.

The infrastructure will also provide a cloud based system that includes the use of virtualization, resource pooling, rapid elasticity, service usage metrics, self-service portals, auditing/continuous monitoring, chargeback reporting and centrally managed multi-site operations.

Commercial operators interested in building and running this cloud infrastructure for the FBI will need to adhere to a 99.9 percent SLA. And they will need to meet all applicable security guidelines, such as FedRAMP and NIST 800-53 requirements.

The FBI has made great progress in the past few years applying cloud and virtualization technology to the ever-increasing data storage challenge. Last month in GovDataDownload there was a story about the agency’s move to a Distributed Application and Virtual Environment (DAVE), part of a multi-year transition to Centralized Tiered Storage (CTS).

The sea of criminal justice data the FBI needs to effectively store, manage and analysis will continue to grow at an escalating rate. Leveraging virtualization and cloud technology ensures that the FBI can apply intelligence to the challenge, not just the creation of additional space.