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Remote Development and Government Cloud-Computing Contracts

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Mark Milligan
 on December 14th, 2022

Coder has learned from serving many agencies in the US Department of Defense, Intelligence Community, and Department of Energy why remote development is required. Simply put, developers and data scientists in these settings require approvals to install any developer tools on a local computer. These approvals can take weeks which means developers are not productive and agencies are not meeting their mission needs. With remote development solutions like Coder, agencies can install Coder in their air-gapped infrastructure and get approval for development environments to run in Coder. Lengthy developer tool approvals are eliminated.

The Transition From Sole Source to Multi Cloud-Computing Contracts

Last week, the US Defense Department awarded cloud-computing contracts to four companies: Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Oracle. The contracts are for a new cloud architecture called the Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability and are valued at $9B through 2028.

The decision to award the contracts to four companies was a reversal for the US Defense Department which had previously awarded a $10B cloud-computing to Microsoft, called Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, known as JEDI.

Albeit political and equitable to share the compute-computing needs of the US government across cloud providers, it raises total cost of ownership and vendor lock-in risk with remote development solutions.

In the US intelligence community, a similar event occurred with the 2020 award of the Commercial Cloud Enterprise contract, known as C2E, to Amazon, Google, IBM, Microsoft and Oracle. There was a previous award in 2013 to Amazon called Commercial Cloud Services, known as C2S, for $600M.

Availability of Remote Development on Government Clouds

Many of these cloud providers offer Software-as-a-Service "SaaS" remote development solutions including Amazon CodeCatalyst, AWS Cloud9, and Amazon WorkSpaces, Google Cloud Workstations, and Microsoft's GitHub Codespaces, Microsoft Dev Box, and Azure Virtual Desktop, all run on their respective public clouds but some of these solutions may not be available on the providers' isolated government data centers. For example, GitHub Codespaces only works with the GitHub public cloud. Point solutions like Gitpod which announced initial availability only on AWS, or GitLab's eventual cloud solution, may or may not operate on a government cloud.

If a Department of Defense of Intelligence Community member wants a remote development solution, it may have to select more than one solution or be locked into only one solution on a specific cloud and which may not meet the requirements of all of an institution's developers. Continuing with unproductive and insecure local development or clunky virtual desktop development may be the only software development environment option.

One Developer Learning Multiple Remote Development Solutions

In classified settings, there are multiple networks and therefore potentially multiple clouds to access data for a developer to do their daily job. Coder has many customers across the Department of Defense and Intelligence Community where more than one deployment of Coder exists on these networks. If a government institution participates in either of the multi-cloud contracts, one developer may have to learn 4 different cloud providers' remote development solutions to do their daily work.

Coder, One Platform for Multiple Government Clouds

The 5 major public cloud providers running development environments in a single Coder deployment

Because Coder is self-hosted software, government institutions participating in the JWCC or C2E contracts, can deploy Coder across any of the participating cloud providers. Their developers and administrators only have to learn one remote development platform. That means lower total cost of ownership and lower training requirements.

If you are a systems integrator or government institution, and have requirements for a remote development solution in your work program, please contact Sales for a consultation and demonstration.

Feel free to try out Coder v2's OSS or request a v2 Enterprise trial license.

Both v2 OSS and Enterprise are supported in our Discord and Slack channels or GitHub Issues.

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