The Department of Homeland Security’s component tasked with immigration enforcement is considering buying a new search tool to reduce the cost of cloud storage.

In a request for information published April 1, DHS’ Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency asked industry for details on capabilities that would allow it to collect, index and store data outside of its Relativity e-discovery software hosted in the Microsoft Azure cloud environment.

According to an architecture diagram released by ICE, the agency is essentially looking for a middleman software where data can be de-duplicated, indexed and searched before being exported to the cloud.

Currently, the collected data is stored and searched in the Azure Cloud environment. With the proposed new architecture, the data stored in the cloud environment “would now be significantly less because searches could be conducted outside of the system.”

In the current storage system, according to the diagram, the government incurs “substantial cost” even though it only uses a fraction of the stored data, the RFI said.

“Searching collected [electronically stored information] prior to processing in our electronic discovery application reduces our cloud storage costs, and also allows us to perform early case assessments to determine the scope of potentially relevant data and the level of effort required for the review and production of that data,” the RFI read.

Submissions are due to ICE on April 17.

Andrew Eversden covers all things defense technology for C4ISRNET. He previously reported on federal IT and cybersecurity for Federal Times and Fifth Domain, and worked as a congressional reporting fellow for the Texas Tribune. He was also a Washington intern for the Durango Herald. Andrew is a graduate of American University.

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