Sunday, April 3, 2011

Briefing on "GovCloud"

Dawn Leaf, NIST’s Senior Executive for Cloud Computing at a briefing on “GovCloud” held at the National Press Club on March 29th, stressed the need for the federal government to develop partnerships and collaborations with industry to more effectively advance possibilities for cloud computing.

Cloud services can be either public, private, hybid, or community based. According to Leaf, right now, the federal agencies are initially supporting the adoption of cloud computing using the private delivery model which will probably expand to a community model or hybrid as more and more people become experienced using cloud computing.

Cloud computing provides for convenient, on-demand network access using shared computing resources requiring minimal management effort. When services are monitored by the cloud provider, much of the control of the data is provided to the consumer.

The U.S. government leads in IT spending with almost $80 billion spent annually on more than 10,000 systems. As Leaf pointed out, $20 billion of the almost $80 billion spent on IT, goes for cloud computing which means that cloud computing is not adding additional spending to the money spent on IT.

Cloud computing is cost effective and relies on sharing computing resources. Cloud computing enables the user to access documents and applications worldwide and enables groups to work together on projects, saves money, handles changes and needs as it relates to the latest hardware and software, initiates projects rapidly, provides a more reliable system, easy to use, and has the capability to provide essential services 24/7.

Leaf continued to explain that NIST is providing the technical leadership needed to deal with interoperability, portability, and security standards as they relate to using cloud services. At the same time, NIST is working collaboratively with industry, standards organizations, academia, and federal, state, and local government agencies, along with the international community to develop a “U.S Government Cloud Computing Standards Roadmap”.

The “Roadmap” will provide data on interoperability, security, portability, standards, and guidance, research, pilots, studies, prototypes, and government policies to help agencies develop the cloud. The goal is to have the “Roadmap” draft completed by October 2011 or if not by the end of the year.

NIST has been presenting a series of workshops to enlighten stakeholders on cloud computing activities in the Federal government. On April 7- 8, 2011 another stakeholder workshop will be held at NIST headquarters and will include a keynote presentation by top officials at the Department of Commerce plus other key federal officials at other agencies. Sessions will highlight the updates needed to further develop the “Roadmap”, discuss business use cases, and deal with the vital security issues related to cloud computing.

For more information on the April workshop, go to or call Angela Ellis at (301) 975-3881.