SAIC's major customer has been the U.S. Dept. of Defense. Since 1999, the DoD's High Performance Computing Modernization Program (HPCMP) has tried to align itself with projects that would make computing power less expensive and more accessible to DoD engineers and scientists. And since the project began back then, its roots - naturally - lie outside the cloud, with supercomputers.
The first signs of a genuine movement to adopt cloud technologies past the curiosity-satisfaction stage have come this year, with the General Services Administration awarding more contracts to government agencies for making migrations to the cloud. The problem, which agencies don't mind admitting openly, has been that there's no template for cloud migrations which agencies can follow. Frankly, no one quite knows for sure whether the existing migrations are successful yet, or even complete.
HPCMP needs some help, which may now be on the way. This morning, SAIC announced a new and potentially lucrative partnership with Red Hat. Despite Linux' dominance among the world's Top 500 supercomputers (at least as of last June), RHEL runs on only six of them. This partnership is not about supercomputing. It will move Red Hat's engineers into SAIC's premiere Advanced Computer Engineering (ACE) laboratory in Charleston, South Carolina, to collaborate with scientists and government officials on ways to deploy more efficient, less expensive equipment using open source, cloud technologies.
"SAIC and Red Hat bring commercial patterns and practices specifically engineered to reduce cost, enable more agile service delivery and allow DoD customers to overcome barriers to cloud adoption, including shortage of skills, lack of interoperability within existing information technology architectures and complexities of service-level objective achievement," reads a statement from Red Hat today. "ACE Laboratory collaborators will learn how Red Hat's modular and open technology portfolio, designed to run consistently across physical servers, virtual platforms and private and public clouds, can be integrated into their cloud architecture."
SAIC has helped design the infrastructure for United States armed forces worldwide, including command and control systems, joint task force intercommunications systems, and chemical warfare incident response management systems.