7 questions to introduce you to Apps.gov

Here are some of the answers to the most frequently asked questions

The new Apps.gov Web site has raised a lot of questions in the technology and acquisition communities, including basic ones such as "What exactly is cloud computing?"

Here are answers to some of the frequently asked questions.

What is Apps.gov?

Apps.gov sells online access to hosted business and productivity applications that are available on the General Services Administration’s multiple-award schedules contracts. Agencies can also access social-media applications, and cloud computing services will be available soon.

What is cloud computing?

Cloud computing enables on-demand network access to a pool of configurable networks, servers and storage devices that agencies can set up quickly and with minimal management or interaction with the service provider.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology recently coined a definition of cloud computing, though it expects to refine the definition after receiving input from the public and private sectors.

What does cloud computing look like in its current form?

NIST said cloud computing has five essential characteristics.

  • On-demand self-service. Consumers can use the infrastructure without interacting with each service’s provider.
  • Broad network access. The services are accessed via a network and standard mechanisms that promote use on different platforms, such as enterprise computers, mobile phones or laptop PCs.
  • Resource pooling. Computing resources — such as data storage, processing and network bandwidth — are pooled to serve multiple consumers. Physical and virtual resources are assigned and reassigned based on consumer demand.
  • Rapid elasticity. The services can be rapidly changed, in some cases automatically, based on demand. But to the consumer, the services often appear to be unlimited.
  • Measured service. Cloud systems control and optimize the use of resources through a metering tool.

What is the Cloud Computing Initiative?

The initiative seeks to fulfill President Barack Obama’s objective for modernizing the government’s information technology infrastructure by identifying common services and solutions that could be delivered via a cloud model.

How is Apps.gov different than GSA’s existing online IT acquisition site, GSA Advantage?

Numerous experts say Apps.gov is simply the same products and services offered on GSA Advantage but with a prettier face. However, GSA officials say Apps.gov will soon include a range of cloud computing services, from server processing capacity to data storage, that are not available through GSA Advantage.

What acquisition rules apply to purchases from the Apps.gov Web site?

The products and services under Apps.gov’s business and productivity applications are offered through GSA’s schedule contracts. So agencies can order those applications using the same Federal Acquisition Regulation procedures that they would use when placing an order on a schedules contract or using GSA Advantage, another online shopping mall for agencies. Buyers can place orders with any schedule contractor that can meet their needs. GSA will soon award a blanket purchase agreement for the cloud IT services.

What payment methods can agencies use on Apps.gov?

Apps.gov only accepts government-issued purchase cards.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

The Fed 100

Save the date for 28th annual Federal 100 Awards Gala.

Featured

  • computer network

    How Einstein changes the way government does business

    The Department of Commerce is revising its confidentiality agreement for statistical data survey respondents to reflect the fact that the Department of Homeland Security could see some of that data if it is captured by the Einstein system.

  • Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Army photo by Monica King. Jan. 26, 2017.

    Mattis mulls consolidation in IT, cyber

    In a Feb. 17 memo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told senior leadership to establish teams to look for duplication across the armed services in business operations, including in IT and cybersecurity.

  • Image from Shutterstock.com

    DHS vague on rules for election aid, say states

    State election officials had more questions than answers after a Department of Homeland Security presentation on the designation of election systems as critical U.S. infrastructure.

  • Org Chart Stock Art - Shutterstock

    How the hiring freeze targets millennials

    The government desperately needs younger talent to replace an aging workforce, and experts say that a freeze on hiring doesn't help.

  • Shutterstock image: healthcare digital interface.

    VA moves ahead with homegrown scheduling IT

    The Department of Veterans Affairs will test an internally developed scheduling module at primary care sites nationwide to see if it's ready to service the entire agency.

  • Shutterstock images (honglouwawa & 0beron): Bitcoin image overlay replaced with a dollar sign on a hardware circuit.

    MGT Act poised for a comeback

    After missing in the last Congress, drafters of a bill to encourage cloud adoption are looking for a new plan.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group