Nov 30, 2012 (08:11 AM EST)
National Archives Picks Google Apps For Government

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The National Archives and Records Administration has become the latest federal agency to move to cloud-based email and applications. NARA has signed Unisys to transition 4,500 of its employees to Google Apps for Government.

The contract is worth $2.8 million in its first year, with four one-year options that could bring the total value to $7.2 million. Unisys already has completed migrations of the General Services Administration, Idaho National Laboratory, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to Google's government cloud.

Google is competing aggressively with Microsoft for the business of federal agencies as they transition from on-premises email systems to cloud-based services in compliance with the Office of Management and Budget's "cloud first" policy.

A few weeks ago, the Department of Veterans Affairs chose Microsoft's Office 365 for Government for 600,000 users. And in June, the Federal Aviation Administration signed for Office 365 for 80,000 users, which is being implemented as a private cloud environment.

NARA is responsible for preserving government records and documents and providing access to the public. The agency expects the cloud implementation to lead to cost savings and improved reliability, according to a statement issued by Unisys.

Last year, NARA awarded IBM a $240 million, 10-year contract to operate and maintain its massive digital archive of government records. The contract covers the agency's Electronic Records Archive project, a long-term program to preserve large volumes of government records and provide both internal and external electronic access to them.

NARA also has developed guidelines for other federal agencies on records management in the cloud.

More than half of federal agencies are saving money with cloud computing, but security, compatibility, and skills present huge problems, according to our survey. Also in the Cloud Business Case issue of InformationWeek Government: President Obama's record on IT strategy is long on vision but short on results. (Free registration required.)