A massive move to transition NASA's websites and applications to a cloud platform has successfully completed its first phase, migrating more than 1 million files so far.

The agency's huge amount of information made the move quite an undertaking. NASA has more than 1,500 public-facing websites and thousands of applications and networks on top of the agency's huge data offerings and holdings. Sites being moved to the cloud include the internal NASA Engineering Network, which contains the documents of 3 million engineering projects, and NASA.gov. In all, the first phase of the move included more than 100 sites and applications and took 22 weeks to complete, according to NextGov.

Making sure applications 'don't go dark'
During the initial migration to the cloud infrastructure, the NASA.gov portal – which itself contains multiple sites – was redesigned to make the transition smoother. The rest of the websites were moved as-is so NASA could still save on infrastructure, according to Raj Ananthanpillai, who is overseeing the migration.

The applications and sites being moved to the cloud were previously housed in a commercial data center where redundancy and uptime were a top priority, so it was important to the agency that nothing fell through the cracks. In an interview with NextGov, Ananthanpillai likened migrating multiple, dispersed sites running on proprietary systems to changing a tire on a moving car. He stressed the importance of the sites being able to stay online, saying that none of them could go dark.

The Office of Management and Budget's federal cloud-first policy was a driving force behind NASA's move to a cloud platform. At the same time, the agency's own Open Government Initiative, which dealt with the utilization of open-source projects to consolidate internal and external websites, fit in nicely with the OMB's policy. NASA's cloud migration allowed the agency to introduce open-source components to overhaul technology in a cost effective way, while also employing new content management systems within the agency's enterprise tool kit.

Overall, the use of cloud storage services has already generated cost savings of 40 percent, according to Roopangi Kadakia, web services executive with NASA's office of the CIO. Looking to the future, the infrastructure is projected to cut the agency's monthly operations and maintenance costs by about 25 percent.