In a recent test, the Defense Information Systems Agency compared the cost of developing a simple application called the Tech Early Bird on $30,000 worth of in-house servers and software with the costs of developing the same application using the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud from Amazon.com’s Web Services. Amazon charged 10 cents a minute for the service, and DISA paid a total of $5 to develop an application that matched the performance of the in-house application.
The test is an example of how DISA has been borrowing ideas from Amazon and other Web-based companies and sites, including Yahoo, Google and Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia. “There may well be a commercial analog for everything we want to do,” said Dave Mihelcic, DISA’s chief technology officer.
In some ways, DISA is playing catch up with users. Mapping products from Yahoo and Google are already infused in DOD, Mihelcic said. Internet chat is “the way we manage the war” [in Iraq], he said. Speaking at the U.S. DISA Industry Day last week, Croom said a service-oriented approach is crucial to U.S. forces. “Information is America’s greatest weapons system, but processes we have created are holding us back.”