Federal Government Embraces Cloud Computing; Outlines Long-term Cloud Computing Strategy


 

In a press event on Tuesday at NASA Ames Research Center in California, Federal Chief Information Officer (CIO) Vivek Kundra unveiled apps.gov, an online storefront for federal agencies to browse and purchase cloud-based IT services. The Obama administration has long touted cloud computing as an effective means to take advantage of technology for less money, and promises this first project should streamline IT costs, while also demonstrating a strong commitment to embracing innovation to tackle increasingly complex IT issues.
 
We at Microsoft are very excited about this announcement and what it means for the public sector AND the role of cloud computing  in the overall technology industry.  Amitabh Srivastava, SVP Windows Azure at Microsoft, who was present at the industry roundtable following the press event, put it this way, “if there was any doubt that the era of cloud computing is alive in government, Kundra put those doubts to rest today in his announcement. Microsoft feels the White House is taking the correct approach by making cloud services available to government agencies, which will ultimately better serve citizens by leveraging technology innovations to run their organizations at lower costs, procure information technology more easily, and in a way that reduces government’s ecological footprint.  Microsoft looks forward to working with the federal government to make the cloud computing vision a reality.   Government customers today seek — and deserve — a broad set of technology choices and solutions that address their diverse needs, which in most cases include both on-premise and cloud computing scenarios. As we work together to meet these needs, the industry must do so with the highest standards of interoperability, manageability and security safeguards.”

Yes, as Amitabh notes, cloud computing has applications far beyond apps.gov, the federal government’s first cloud computing project.   Teresa Carlson, vice president, Microsoft Federal, recently wrote a blog post discussing the broad implications of cloud computing in the public sector that you should read to learn more about some of the work already underway: http://microsoftontheissues.com/cs/blogs/mscorp/default.aspx

 

Microsoft has also started a project to help government agencies and developers publish and interact with their data in Windows Azure.  Announced May 7, 2009, the Open Government Data Initiative (OGDI), led by the Microsoft Public Sector Developer Evangelism team, is a cloud-based approach to housing public government data in Windows Azure making it accessible in a programmatic manner via open standard protocols and application programming interfaces, such as Silverlight, Flash, JavaScript, PHP, Python, Ruby, mapping web sites, etc..  For more information, please go to: http://ogdisdk.cloudapp.net/Default.aspx


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