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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Vivek Kundra - State of Public Sector Cloud Computing

Last week Federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra release his report on the “State of Public Sector Cloud Computing”. The report not only details Federal budget guidance issued to agencies to foster the adoption of cloud computing, but it also describes 30 illustrative case studies at the Federal, state and local government level. As stated in the report:


“The Obama Administration is changing the way business is done in Washington and bringing a new sense of responsibility to how we manage taxpayer dollars. We are working to bring the spirit of American innovation and the power of technology to improve performance and lower the cost of government operations.”

Issuance of this report reinforces last week’s Washington, DC event during which the CIO pushed to engage closely with industry on this important journey towards cloud computing. A critical aspect of this journey is the development of cloud computing standards. Led by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) , these activities will facilitate industry adoption of high priority security, interoperability, and portability requirements. Current cloud computing standards development activities, conducted by the NIST Information Technology Laboratory (ITL), include:

Special Publications: NIST plans to issue an initial SP on cloud computing. The purpose is to provide insight into the benefits and considerations, and the secure and effective uses of cloud computing. More specifically, the document will provide guidance on key considerations of cloud computing: interoperability, portability, and security. To present these issues, the document will use the broadly recognized and adopted NIST Definition of Cloud Computing as a basis, given informal models of the major cloud computing service categories (Software as a Service, Platform as a Service, and Infrastructure as a Service). The publication will outline typical terms of use for cloud systems, will synopsize future research areas in cloud computing, and will provide informal recommendations.

Standards Acceleration to Jumpstart Adoption of Cloud Computing (SAJACC): The SAJAAC strategy and approach is to accelerate the development of standards and to increase the level of confidence in cloud computing adoption during the interim period before cloud computing standards are formalized. SAJACC will provide information about interim specifications and the extent that they support key cloud computing requirements through a NIST hosted SAJACC portal. More specifically, SAJACC will provide a public Internet-accessible repository of cloud computing usage scenarios (i.e., use cases), documented cloud system interfaces, pointers to cloud system reference implementations, and test results showing the extent to which different interfaces can support individual use cases.


Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP): NIST, in the technical advisory role to the interagency Federal Cloud Computing Advisory Council (CCAC) Security Working Group will define an initial technical approach and process for FedRAMP consistent with NIST security guidance in the context of the Federal Information System Management Act (FISMA). To clarify the role of NIST with respect to FedRAMP, while NIST is supporting the definition of the FedRAMP process from a technical perspective, NIST is not the implementing organization. The governance and operational implementation of FedRAMP will be completed under the auspices of the Federal CIO Council.

I personally urge you to take a look at the case studies provided. Federal agency examples are impressive!

• Department of Defense (United States Army) - Army Experience Center
• Department of Defense (Defense Information Systems Agency) - Rapid Access Computing Environment
• Department of Defense (Defense Information Systems Agency) - Forge.mil
• Department of Defense (United States Air Force) - Personnel Services Delivery Transformation
• Department of Energy (Lawrence Berkeley National Labs) - Cloud Computing Migration
• Department of Health and Human Services - Supporting Electronic Health Records
• Department of the Interior - Agency-wide E-mail
• General Services Administration (Office of Citizen Services) - USA.gov
• General Services Administration - Agency-wide E-mail
• National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Ames Research Center) - World-Wide Telescope
• National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) - Be A Martian
• National Aeronautics and Space Administration - Enterprise Data Center Strategy
• Social Security Administration - Online Answers Knowledgebase
• Federal Labor Relations Authority - Case Management System
• Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board - Recovery.gov Cloud Computing Migration
• Securities and Exchange Commission - Investor Advocacy System

Although these only represent the tip of the iceberg, they are also proof positive that the public sector’s move towards cloud computing is real and enduring



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