Pentagon picks application life-cycle management tool for 10,000 users

IT unit turns to CollabNet to manage software development and test cloud computing plan

The information systems group for the U.S. Department of Defense is poised to roll out a hosted application life-cycle management tool early next year to up to 10,000 users.

The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) -- which provides IT and communications support to the DOD, all the military services, the president's office and joint military commands -- tapped CollabNet Corp.'s SourceForge Enterprise ALM service to manage source code, releases and documents in its software development projects.

In addition, DISA said it plans to test CollabNet's Cubit tool set to manage the Rapid Access Computing Environment (RACE) cloud computing infrastructure now under development.

In July, DISA CIO John Garing told Computerworld that he had been conferring with companies like Google, and others on their approaches to a wide variety of technology issues, including cloud computing. RACE has an architecture similar to Amazon's Elastic Cloud Compute, or EC2, cloud computing service.

DISA hopes to use Cubit to manage and distribute the image libraries in RACE so that images can automatically be moved between development, testing and operational environments, said Robert Vietmeyer, DOD’s project manager.

"We're looking at how do we enable the same sort of cloud computing model that is proving to have so much power on the Internet," he noted. "How do we leverage all these assets and become this cloud enabler within the department to be able to realize for DOD the same sort of benefits we're starting to see on the Internet?"

The CollabNet SourceForge Enterprise ALM service should help the agency's IT developers join the DOD's Net Centric Warfare scheme, which allows military personnel to plug into its network and access and share information from any location. IT currently runs numerous isolated efforts that are managed separately using multiple ALM tool sets, added Vietmeyer.

"A lot of folks complain about how fast we get new capabilities out to the field," he noted. "We need to enable information-sharing, collaboration [and] shared situation awareness among the IT development community." is an effort within DISA to build a departmentwide community around open-source models to foster a collaborative approach to software development by jointly creating requirements and offering shared visibility into the development cycle. "How do we enable folks that need to collaborate on a particular solution to come together … develop the software and get it out to the field?" Vietmeyer said.

He noted that CollabNet was selected at least in part because many DISA developers already use Subversion, an open-source version-control system developed by CollabNet. In addition, the CollabNet offering meets the agency's requirements that the chosen technology be widely used and hosted in the private sector, he said.

"This looks like the right foundation, the right sort of model to try to encourage collaboration within the DOD IT development community," Vietmeyer added.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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