NOAA published its strategy for "maximizing the value of cloud services" in 2020. Credit: NOAA

SAN FRANCISCO — The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced the award Aug. 3 of a $15 million contract for cloud services to SAIC and Carahsoft.

The award, made by NOAA’s National Satellite, Data and Information Service (NESDIS) under an existing purchase agreement, calls for the companies to provide “up to 200 petabytes of egress capabilities and discounted storage services” over three years “through Amazon Web Services to meet operational requirements,” according to a NOAA news release.

Moving data processing and storage to the cloud is a priority for NESDIS.

“NESDIS leadership has determined that cloud computing is our future, and the organization is moving intelligently to the cloud,” Kenneth Casey, deputy chief of the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information Center Data Stewardship Division, said in 2020.

The agency sees cloud services as a tool for providing robust dissemination of imagery and data to partners, while making data freely available online. NESDIS also plans to expand its use of artificial intelligence and machine learning tools for working with cloud-based data.

“The fixed-price nature of this egress award will accelerate cloud migration, creating opportunities for increased value delivery to the users with a faster research-to-operations transition and future cost avoidance for refreshing on-premises systems,” according to the news release.

NOAA has conducted a series of pilot programs to demonstrate cloud infrastructure.

For example, NESDIS is working with Microsoft and Xplore to send data from polar-orbiting weather satellite NOAA-18 to the Azure cloud.

Debra Werner is a correspondent for SpaceNews based in San Francisco. Debra earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University. She...