President Obama's 2010 Budget (pp. 157-158) has highlighted cloud computing as a key tool for improving innovation, efficiency and effectiveness in Federal IT.
" Cloud-computing is a convenient, on-demand model for network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction. The cloud element of cloud-computing derives from a metaphor used for the Internet, from the way it is often depicted in computer network diagrams. Conceptually it refers to a model of scalable, real-time, internet-based information technology services and resources, satisfying the computing needs of users, without the users incurring the costs of maintaining the underlying infrastructure. Examples in the private sector involve providing common business applications online, which are accessed from a web browser, with software and data stored on the “cloud” provider’s servers."
In addressing common concerns around security, the document takes this challenge on by appropriately charging agencies to have a proactive risk management plan.
"Implementing a cloud-computing platform incurs different risks than dedicated agency data centers. Risks associated with the implementation of a new technology service delivery model include policy changes, implementation of dynamic applications, and securing the dynamic environment. The mitigation plan for these risks depends on establishing a proactive program management office to implement industry best practices and government policies in the management of any program. In addition, the Federal community will need to actively put in place new security measures which will allow dynamic application use and information-sharing to be implemented in a secure fashion. In order to achieve these goals, pilot programs will provide a model for scaling across the Government. "
The administrations plans to transform the Federal IT infrastructure by "virtualizing data centers, consolidating data centers and operations, and ultimately adopting a cloud-computing business model". The effort will include multiple pilots and a major new initiative led by the Federal CIO, Vivek Kundra, and supported by the Federal CIO council.
What a great day for Federal Cloud Computing !!