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Rapid Access Computing Environment (RACE)

Rapid Access Computing Environment (RACE) is a United States federal government infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) initiative for developing and testing new Department of Defense  (DoD) software applications. RACE is managed by the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), a government service provider that supplies and supports battlefield command-and-control systems and information technology (IT) for most of the Department of Defense's business applications. 

The goal of RACE is to enable Department of Defense computer programmers to purchase server space on demand by using a secure Web portal and a cloud computing delivery model. 

According to the United States' Chief Information Officer (CIO) Vivek Kundra:

"RACE consists of many virtual servers inside a single physical server. By using virtualization technologies, DISA has divided the costs of provisioning and operating a single physical server among the users of the various virtual servers. This system passes cost savings on to individual teams. Within this virtual environment, users can use a self-service portal to provision computing resources in 50 GB increments with the guarantee that the environment will be secure to DoD standards.

For security purposes RACE has built-in application separation controls so that all applications, databases and Web servers are separate from each other. DISA also has a strict data cleansing process for when an application needs to be removed completely from the RACE platform."

Government officials hope that RACE will encourage standardization for custom applications, which in turn will facilitate software interoperability between various branches of the military.  The DoD is expanding the RACE delivery model at the request of the Air Force to support military IT services below the application layer. (See platform-as-a-service.)

Learn more about RACE:

The Defense Information Systems Agency provides more information about Rapid Access Computing Environment

This was last updated in August 2010
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