Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Cloud Computing for Continuity of Operations (COOP)

Recently, I've been focusing on cloud computing for COOP. The way I looked at it, many government agencies are already using commercial shared facilities as COOP sites and that the cloud simply represented a virtual shared facility. Although there are still many security, privacy and policy issues that need to be addressed, it seems to me that cloud computing could still provide a cost effective and efficient COOP capability for certain operational and mission subsets.

A major key to success would be in the identification of which non-critical applications and infrastructure resources an agency could migrate to a cloud platform. By definition, these would be resources the agency could go without for two days. In general, applications, storage and server resources related to ad-hoc projects, research and development efforts, and certain peak-time requirements could clearly be considered.

To ensure operational and contractual flexibility, only solutions that could work across multiple cloud infrastructures should be considered. Many commercial vendors can provide multi-cloud support for continuity of operations requirements, including:
After appropriate technical and cost/benefit trades, vendors could be selected and SLAs negotiated. Pending agencies policy reviews and appropriate contracting vehicles, cloud-based COOP could then be put in place.

Is this a valid approach? Are their alternatives? As always, your suggestions and recommendations are welcomed.