Cloud computing took another big step forward this week with an announcement from Vivek Kundra, the federal Chief Information Officer, that the Federal Government would begin using cloud computing. The symbolism of his announcement being made in Silicon Valley should not be lost. Nor should the fact that the announcement was made at NASA's Ames Research Center where NASA's Nebula cloud computing platform is under development.
Kundra also unveiled a new government Web site, Apps.Gov, which has pre-approved cloud computing applications for use by departments and agencies. On this new site, available applications are grouped into four categories:
- Business Apps with 33 sub-categories (including security)
- Productivity Apps with 7 sub-categories
- Cloud IT Services with 4 sub-categories
- Social Media Apps with 9 sub-categories
Interestingly, the Security sub-category has no approved applications listed at this time. Also interesting to me, is that under the Social Media Apps sub-category, Facebook, Flickr, FriendFeed, MySpace, TwitVid (a 3rd party Twitter application), and YouTube are all open for enrolment
Of course, it will be quite interesting to see how security is handled, and hopefully achieved, with the Government's cloud computing uptake. But, let's at least give Kundra and the Obama Administration credit for beginning to bring needed change to Federal Government IT efforts, and hopefully reducing some of the IT costs.
This is just the latest big announcement about cloud computing in the last three months, which demonstrates that there is now reality to cloud computing. A year ago, with all of the hype and hand waiving about touted benefits of cloud computing, you would have been justified in thinking it nearly all vaporware. What a difference a year makes.
By the way, if you're interested in Federal IT issues, you should also check out the Federal IT Dashboard and Data.Gov.