Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Hill Examines Cloud Computing

The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology’s Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation held a hearing September 21, 2011 on “The Next IT Revolution: Cloud Computing Opportunities and Challenges”. The hearing examined the benefits and risks of cloud computing and the role of the federal government in fostering the adoption of cloud computing services.

Daniel A. Reed, Corporate Vice President, for Microsoft Corporation’s Technology Policy Group appeared before the Committee to explain that cloud services are not a sudden or new development.

Each time we share digital photos, shop online, use an email service, download and use applications, or query a search engine, we are connecting to the cloud. Every day the combination of wired and wireless broadband networks, PCs and smart phones, and online services hosted in remote data centers connect individuals, deliver valuable data and insights, and drive business efficiency and innovations.

The number of devices used today is projected to exceed 50 billion with most connected to the internet to produce a world of seamlessly connected devices and services. With this in mind, Reed suggested that there are specific steps the U.S. government should take to realize the opportunities that the cloud creates for research, business, government, and individuals.

The federal government should move to adopt cloud capabilities and explore how clouds could allow data from different agencies, different levels of government, and even the private sector, to be combined and used in powerful new ways.

Federal research agencies should host large-scale data sets, accelerate scientific discoveries, and create new opportunities for data intensive exploration and multidisciplinary collaborations. In addition, federal rules for allowable research expenses should be encouraged and IT services should be used in the cloud where appropriate.

The web and cloud services depend on broadband communications. Today with the phenomenal growth of digital data, the rise of streaming media series, and the explosive growth of internet-connected devices, our nation’s broadband infrastructure is being strained, so the country must have adequate wired and wireless connectivity.

Lastly, revise policies in light of technology changes since many of our current policies and regulations have not kept pace with new technology developments. Revising policies affecting technology is vital to accelerate and implement the benefits for using the cloud.

For more details on the hearing, go to http://democrats.science.house.gov.