The Rapid Access Computing Environment (RACE) program was started by DOD's Defense Information Systems Agency in October 2008 to provide platform as a service to support DOD systems development efforts. The goal of the program is to provide the service through a streamlined process including system provisioning, development, testing, assessment and authorization, and deployment of applications to DOD customers within a private cloud. RACE customers purchase one or many virtual machines through a self-service portal. The RACE program is managed by both government and contractor personnel within existing DOD data centers and operates only on DOD's internal network.
According to program officials, users can acquire server capacity rapidly for short- or long-term use without the need for approval for a capital acquisition expense. Initial provisioning in RACE takes a few days, while traditional purchasing can take a month or longer. Program officials state that they hope to expand RACE to the classified environment in the future. Currently, DOD uses three information system impact levels, which are equivalent to low, moderate, and high, as defined by NIST. RACE is currently certified to operate at the moderate-impact level, although the current use is for data at the lowest impact level.
- ↑ DOD categorizes system impact levels using Mission Assurance Category I, II, and III: category I systems are considered high impact and handle information that is vital to mission success, category II systems are considered medium impact and handle information that is important for mission success, and category III systems are considered low impact and handle information that does not materially affect mission success.