Horizon closes in on becoming federal IaaS provider

US data center services company Horizon is making a big push into the market for providing cloud services to the US federal government. The firm has recently completed the document submission process for securing accreditation to become a technology services provider to government agencies, Horizon CEO Lance Black told DatacenterDynamics.

Leveraging cloud-based services is a cornerstone in White House CIO Vivek Kundra’s strategy to increase efficiency of federal IT. Horizon, together with its partner EyakTek, will be providing Infrastructure-as-a-Service through Apps.gov, an online IaaS procurement portal for federal agencies.

“Offering IaaS on Apps.gov makes sense for the federal government and for the American people,” Kundra said in October 2010. “Cloud solutions not only help to lower the cost of government operations, they also drive innovation across government.”

Horizon’s partner EyakTek was one of 11 applicants to whom the US General Services Administration awarded Blanket Purchase Agreement for IaaS offerings. A BPA is an agreement by the government to spend up to a limited amount of funds on services provided by a contractor over a set period of time.

Other companies on the list included AT&T, Amazon Web Services, Carpathia, Dell, Savvis, Verizon, Microsoft and General Dynamics, among others.

EyakTek’s BPA is for up to US$76.6m, lasting from 2010 through 2015, according to the company’s website. Black said Horizon will provide all the services under the contract, including virtual images, back-up and storage and virtual web hosting.

The provider has set up infrastructure in three of its US data centers to support the government cloud. The infrastructure consists of HP servers, Cisco networking gear and 3Par HP storage.

“The cloud infrastructure is a small footprint inside data centers,” Black said. “In each one of the facilities we take up about 500 sq ft of space supporting cloud infrastructure.”

Two of the data centers hosting the infrastructure are located in the Dallas metropolitan area and the third one is in northern Virginia, close to Washington, D.C.