Thursday, December 30, 2010

NIST Cloud Computing Collaboration Twiki Launches

Today I received my credentials for the NIST Cloud Computing Collaboration Site.

"The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has been designated by Federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra to accelerate the federal government’s secure adoption of cloud computing by leading efforts to develop standards and guidelines in close consultation and collaboration with standards bodies, the private sector, and other stakeholders. Computer science researchers at NIST are working on two complementary efforts to speed the government’s quick and secure adoption of cloud computing.

NIST's long term goal is to provide thought leadership and guidance around the cloud computing paradigm to catalyze its use within industry and government. NIST aims to shorten the adoption cycle, which will enable near-term cost savings and increased ability to quickly create and deploy safe and secure enterprise applications. NIST aims to foster cloud computing systems and practices that support interoperability, portability, and security requirements that are appropriate and achievable for important usage scenarios."

Membership for participation on the this Cloud Computing Wiki site is open to the public. If you want to contribute content to this wiki, please go to NIST Cloud Computing Program website, read the page carefully and follow the instructions. The current working group meeting schedule is provided below.

Complete information on all the working groups is available online at:

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GovCloud Predicitons for 2011

Happy New Year All!!

2011 will be the breakout year for GovCloud! Pressure to reduce budget, pressure to manage I resources better and the political pressure of the next presidential election will combine to accelerate adoption. The GSA IaaS groundwork has been laid and new policies are just about ready to be released !!

Here are my predictions for GovCloud!

  1. The US Federal government will award over $2B in cloud computing related contracts. The USDA and GSA email deals are just the beginning. GSA final approval to the 11 government IaaS awardees will open the floodgate to rapid cloud experimentation. Lack of a final 2011 Federal budget will make cloud computing one of the few viable options for executing new IT programs next year.
  2. The European Union will establish a European community cloud computing strategy and governance framework similar to the US FedRAMP program. Even with its flaws, FedRamp will become a model for government cloud adoption globally. The European Community won't just standby and let American global cloud computing hegemony reign wild.
  3. Major cyber attacks coupled with the rapid adoption of cloud computing by governments will cause a crescendo in security concerns. Wikileakes is just the beginning! The general public will not recognize the technical distinctions between events and clump them all into the category of "attacks on the cloud". Politicians out of power will rant and rave about how cloud computing threatens US national security. Cybersecurity wonks from both sides of the aisle will do major battle.
  4. Concerns regarding national sovereignty vis-à-vis economic advantages of using cloud computing threaten to slow the growth of international government cloud computing. Other countries will take note of the Korean cloud computing industry's rapid rise. Government leaders will then focus on the politics of not having their own national cloud computing capability.
  5. Major cloud providers will adopt common, interoperable infrastructure-as-a-service technical standards.Cloud computing network effect will trump industrial rivalry. This transition will drive all towards making IaaS even more of a commodity through the adoption of interoperable virtual machine and cloud storage standards.

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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Vivek Kundra Unveils 25-Point IT Management Reform Program

Yesterday the US Federal CIO, Vivek Kundra, unveiled an ambitious 25-point implementation plan for delivering more value to the American taxpayer. This plan focuses on execution and is designed
to establish early wins Some highlights of the implementation plan include:
  • Turnaround or terminate at least one-third of underperforming projects in IT portfolio within the next 18 months
  • Shift to “Cloud First” policy. Each agency will identify three “must move” services within three months, and move one of those services to the cloud within 12 month and the remaining two within 18 months.
  • Reduce number of Federal data centers by at least 800 by 2015

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Saturday, December 4, 2010

GSA and Unisys/Google Marks GovCloud Watershed

As widely reported this week, the United States General Services Administration (GSA) has awarded a contract to Unisys to create a secure cloud-based email and collaboration platform. The solution will be based on Google Apps for Government and is expected to save $15M over the next five years when compared to current staff, infrastructure, and contract support costs.

The award will provide up to 17,000 GSA employees and contractors worldwide with enhanced collaboration services, including email with expanded storage, as well as full access to Google Apps collaboration tools including Google Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs and Google Sites.

The government also extended the public comment period for the The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program or FedRAMP. This program has been established to provide a standard approach to Assessing and Authorizing (A&A) cloud computing services and products. FedRAMP allows joint authorizations and continuous security monitoring services for Government and Commercial cloud computing systems intended for multi-agency use. The risk model will also enable the government to "approve once, and use often" by ensuring multiple agencies gain the benefit and insight of the FedRAMP's Authorization and access to service provider’s authorization packages.

In 2009 the government discovered cloud computing. Now 2010 is clearly the year of implementation.

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Monday, November 8, 2010

NIST Moves Forward on Cloud Computing

Last week the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) held their second Cloud Computing Forum and Workshop. Skillfully shepherded by Ms. Dawn Leaf, the agency’s senior executive of cloud computing, the event reinforced the US Federeal government's move towards the cloud. Of particular note to me was the cloud computing simulation model project, known as Koala, that focuses on the behavior of infrastructure-as-a-service cloud systems. Other highlights included:
NIST also highlighted their work on cloud computing use cases. This set of twenty five use cases is being used to address portability, interoperability and security concerns within the cloud computing community.

I applaud NIST and the Federal CIO Council for their leadership in this area.

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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Robert Duffner Interviews Chris Kemp, NASA, and Kevin Jackson, NJVC, on GovCloud

Recently, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Mr. Robert Duffner, director of Product Management for Windows Azure, as part of his "Thought Leaders in the Cloud" series. In this interview, we discussed:
  • Actual government IT successes, especially using cloud computing
  • Deconstructing the hype around cloud computing and talking about its real characteristics and value
  • How clouds need a critical mass to function and provide elasticity, and how the size of the US places it in a strong position to develop these kinds of clouds
  • Industry transition from system integration to service integration
  • Use of clouds among defense departments and other organizations with other high security requirements
  • Synergy between cloud computing and geospatial data
I was honored to follow Mr. Chris Kemp, NASA CTO, in this series.  During his interview with Robert, they discussed:
  • Mandate to consider cloud computing for every major government IT project
  • "Be a Martian" - NASA using Windows Azure to let students classify craters
  • Opportunity for government to use more open source rather than write as much in-house
  • Security concerns around government data
  • Inter-country collaboration on cloud computing initiatives
  • Gartner blog post titled, "Do Government Clouds Make Any Sense?"
  • Collaboration with Microsoft Research on public/private cloud hybrid
  • NASA is leading the charge towards cloud computing and modern IT for government
I urge you to take the time to read both of these thoughtful interviews.

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Monday, November 1, 2010

NJVC, Invertix Announce Cloud Computing Demonstration at GEOINT 2010

VIENNA, Va. -- (BUSINESS WIRE) -- NJVC®, one of the largest providers of information technology (IT) solutions to the U.S. Department of Defense, and Invertix Corporation, a proven technology company supporting the United States Intelligence Community, will offer a joint cloud computing platform demonstration at the NJVC booth (#375) at the GEOINT 2010 Symposium, Nov. 1 – 4, in New Orleans. The portable cloud platform is also installed at NJVC Center for Technology Integration – West in O’Fallon, Ill., and an Invertix office in Northern Virginia.

The NJVC and Invertix team will demonstrate both administrative and mission-oriented capabilities enhanced by the power of cloud computing. The effort includes the configuration of an open source software-based distributed cloud platform on innovative green commodity hardware that improves enterprise capabilities while reducing cost. The demonstration will also highlight widget and mashup technologies configured for web-based enterprise search and GEOINT analysis by system end-users on a local cloud platform as well interacting with remote clouds including an NJVC cloud in O’Fallon, the DIA developed Intelligence Community Data Layer and an Invertix cloud in Northern Virginia. “At GEOINT 2010, the on-site cloud platform, dashboard and widgets validate utility cloud platform capabilities in a compelling and tangible manner,” said Dr. Dan Law, Invertix chief scientist.

“NJVC is thrilled to embark on this new relationship with Invertix to leverage the cloud computing expertise and successes of both companies to clients—current and future,” said Jill Bruning, NJVC chief operating officer. “This is the first of many future joint initiatives targeted at growing both companies’ cloud computing practices.”

“We are happy to engage with NJVC in exploring innovative ways to advance client missions by leveraging the power of emerging cloud technologies,” said Craig Parisot, Invertix chief operating officer. “Our delivery approach effectively leverages the strengths of both organizations for the benefit of the GEOINT domain mission.”

Visit the NJVC booth (#375) on the tradeshow floor to experience this cloud computing partnership in action.

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About NJVC
NJVC is one of the largest information technology solutions providers supporting the U.S. Department of Defense. The company provides quality IT solutions to the federal government and specializes in supporting intelligence, defense and geospatial organizations. NJVC has more than 1,300 employees and operates in offices in Vienna, Va.; Arnold, Mo.; and O’Fallon, Ill. NJVC also provides distributed technical services to the DoD and the U.S. Intelligence Community around the globe. For more information, visit

About Invertix Corporation
Founded in 1999, Invertix Corporation is a proven technology company and an experienced government prime contractor providing technologies and services to the U.S. Intelligence Community. The company maintains major operating locations in McLean, Va.; Las Cruces, N.M.; and Alexandria, Va. Invertix is driven by national priorities with a primary focus in the mission areas of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, enterprise information technology and communications mission systems. Invertix was named to the 2010 Inc. 500, ranked number four on the list of 50 fastest growing companies in the D.C. region and winner of the ACG emerging company of 2010. For more information, visit

Copyright © Business Wire 2010
Michelle Snyder, 703-893-7609
Invertix Corporation
Dr. Dan Law, CTO, 703-813-2100

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

On The Frontlines: Cloud Computing in Government

Today, Trezza Media Group released the latest installment of it's "On The Frontlines" series of government technology reports. The "On The Frontlines" Publications are dedicated to showcasing the positive progress and best practices of the Federal Government Agencies and their strategic partners in meeting the goals of their Mission Programs and supporting the men and women who work on the frontlines. This issue, Cloud Computing in Government, feature the Trends and Best Practices on Cloud Computing in Government.
In this special report, you'll be able to read and view:
  • Cover Story on Cultivating a "Cloud-First Culture"
  • Cloud Drivers with Government Leaders from GSA-OSD & NASA Ames
  • An in-depth Interview with Chris Kemp, CTO, NASA
  • Viewpoints Column-Economic Gains in the Cloud-Kevin Jackson, NJVC
  • Clear Visions of Future Cloud Formations with Subject Matter Expert
  • Cloud Computing Resource Center Section

My personal thanks goes out to Mr. Tom Trezza Jr, Mr. Jeff Erlichman and Mr. Jim Flyzik for affording me the opportunity to contribute to this informative publication.


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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

GSA Awards Eleven US Federal IaaS Contracts

According to Federal News Radio, GSA awarded eleven vendor spots in the first Federal cloud infrastructure-as-a-service award. The winners were:

* Apptis Inc. partnered with Amazon Web Services
* AT&T
* Autonomic Resources partnered with Carpathia, Enomaly and Dell
* CGI Federal
* Computer Literacy World partnered with Electrosoft, XO Communications and Secure Networks
* Computer Technology Consultants partnered with Softlayer, Inc.
* Eyak Tech LLC
* General Dynamics Information Technology partnered with Carpathia
* Insight Public Sector partnered with Microsoft
* Savvis Federal Systems
* Verizon Federal Inc.

Under the BPA, each of the vendors will have to go through the certification and accreditation (C&A) process at the moderate level under the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA). GSA will run the C&A process through the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP)

After they complete FedRAMP certification, all of these offerings will be available on the website.

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

NIST To Hold 2nd Cloud Computing Forum & Workshop

On November 4-5, 2010, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will hold their second Cloud Computing Forum & Workshop. During this event, NIST will report on the status of federal efforts around cloud computing standards for data portability, cloud interoperability, and security. Additionally, NIST will:

"...[S]ocialize the NIST strategy to collaboratively develop a Cloud Computing Roadmap among multiple federal and industrial stakeholders, and to advance a dialogue between these groups.  To frame the discussions, the United States Chief Information Officer and Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology will present their vision on the first day (November 4, 2010.) Panel discussions will consider the roles of standard organizations and ad-hoc standards in the cloud; need and use of a reference architecture to support cloud adoption; key cloud computing issues and proposed solutions; security in the cloud; and international aspects of cloud computing. Breakout sessions on the following day (November 5, 2010), designed to actively engage stakeholders, will discuss these issues, and develop a series of next steps for the effort in cloud computing standards."

Workshop goals include:
  • Public Announcement and initiation of the strategy to develop a Cloud Computing Roadmap.
  • Engagement with interested parties on development of a neutral cloud computing reference architecture and taxonomy.
  • Defining Target USG Cloud Computing Business Use Cases.
  • Public Announcement of access to the Standards Acceleration to Jumpstart the Adoption of Cloud Computing (SAJACC) portal.
Day 1 will consist of a series of opening remarks from Dr Patrick Gallagher, NIST Director; Vivek Kundra, US CIO; Cita Furlani, NIST ITL Director; and panel discussions on cloud security, standards roles, international aspects, and the role and use of a neutral reference architecture/taxonomy. Day 2 will consist of a series of breakout discussions on these topics and more.

Registration is available at

Reporters interested in attending should contact Evelyn Brown,, (301) 975-5661.
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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

"On The Frontlines" Interview

Look out for  "On The Frontlines: The Government Cloud" scheduled for release in November 2010!

Trezza Media Group provides high-quality thought leadership media and marketing services to help companies connect to government leaders, channel partners and other industry and technology partners. Their goal is to team with leaders in the government market to provide best-of-breed thought leadership media programs that deliver access to the government market, develop a high level of mindshare, and strengthen brands.
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Friday, September 24, 2010

Yongsan Army Garrison Does Cloud Computing!!

First Signal is ready for the cloud !

Even with the time constraints of the Chusok holiday and the onslaught of a 100-year flood, the class soldiered on with five excellent projects. 

I would like to thank the class for their focus and determination. See you next time!

Yongsan presentation 1
View more presentations from Kevin Jackson.

Yongsan presentation 2
View more presentations from Kevin Jackson.

Yongsan presentation 3
View more presentations from Kevin Jackson.

Yongsan presentation 4
View more presentations from Kevin Jackson.

Yongsan presentation 5
View more presentations from Kevin Jackson.


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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Army Cloud Computing in Korea!

After a long uneventful flight, I've arrived at Yongsan Army Garrison in Soeul Korea. After enjoying the economy accomodation on a Boeing 777 for over 14 hours, my room and bed at the Dragon Hill Lodge was a welcomed sight! If you're active or retired military and traveling to Seoul, you should definitely check DHL for accomodations. The facility is operated as an Armed Forces Recreation Center by the US Army in support of personnel assigned or employed by the US Forces Korea.

Tomorrow (Monday) is the first day of a five day class. This edition of "Cloud Compuing 201", however, will be delivered a little differently this time because Chusok (or Chuseok), the Korean Thanksgiving, is celebrated this Wednesday.

On Chuseok, Koreans return to their hometowns to pay respects to the spirits of one's ancestors. People perform ancestral worship rituals early in the morning. They often visit the tombs of their immediate ancestors to trim plants and clean the area around the tomb, and offer food, drink, and crops to their ancestors. Harvest crops are attributed to the blessing of ancestors. One of the major foods prepared and eaten during the Chuseok holiday is songpyeon (송편), a crescent-shaped rice cake which is steamed upon pine needles. Other foods commonly prepared are japchae, bulgogi and fruits. Like the American Thanksgiving, Chusok is the time to celebrate the family and give thanks for their blessings. Due to Chesok, there will be no class on Wednesday.  The five-day class will be compressed into two, 2-day halves.
The US Army is definitely taking cloud computing seriously. The Army Private Cloud Computing procurement makes that abundantly clear. I'm honored to be in a position to help them realize the promise.

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Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Taiwan GovCloud

Last week, Henry Kenyon of Federal Computer Week reported that the Taiwanese government is planning to spend $744M to develop cloud computing technology. Premier Den-yih Wu sees this as a way for his country to take advantage of the country's strong information and communications technology industry.

According to an August 2010 IEEE Spectrum article, a cabinet level advisory task force has now been formed to help government agencies choose which cloud computing projects to fund.  The government is building its own private cloud in order to combine the information systems in over 4000 government agencies into two or three cloud computing centers.

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Geospatial Cloud Computing In Support Of National Policy

A few weeks ago I once again had the pleasure of participating in a private discussion on cloud computing with Mr. Vivek Kundra.  What struck me in this most recent meeting was his views on the need to infuse geospatial information into the national policy decision making process. To demonstrate this point, he highlighted that even though high rates of healthcare fraud can be linked to specific locations, our lack of a national geodata standard could potentially hamper the consistent enforcement of a national policy in this area.

In their February blog post, "BI's Next Frontier: Geospatial Cloud Computing", Margot Rudell and Krishna Kumar succinctly described this need:

"Competitive superiority and prosperity require timely interpretation of space and time variables for contextual, condition-based decision making and timely action. Geospatial cockpits with cloud computing capabilities can now integrate the wealth of cloud data like macroeconomic indicators on the web with internal operations information to help define and execute optimal business decisions in real-time."

In fact, if Washington, DC CTO Bryan Sival has his way, Washington would become the first "Geocity in the Cloud":

"'The city is already a heavy supplier of mapping applications, having 26 apps that mash maps up with data on crimes, evacuation routes, school data, emergency facilities, addresses of notaries public, leaf collection, and much more.'

Sivak also wants to provide ways for citizens to update city maps or augment maps with additional information such as the location of park benches and traffic lights. The idea is to take crowdsourcing to a higher level of detail by offering the capability to use this geospatial data to mark not just locations but documents and data relevant to the place."

If you're interested in a detailed look at this growing trend, you should definitely take a look at the most recent On The Frontline publication titled "Geospatial Trends In Government". In the electronic magazine, Robert Burkhardt, Army Geospatial Information Officer, highlights the four major geospatial trends that are driving the use of Geospatial technologies in government. You can also read about the Army's Buckey System, which provides high-resolution urban terrain imagery for tactical missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
No wonder the NGA and Google are moving fast to link up with each other :-)

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