Government-specific clouds a boon to feds, Kundra says

Google and Microsoft e-gov clouds a "huge opportunity"

The debut of Google and Microsoft cloud computing platforms tailored to government is an exciting development that could lead to more federal services being moved into the cloud, according to federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra.

Microsoft announced Feb. 24 that it is creating a dedicated government cloud computing service. That news came several months after Google announced it was launching a government-specific cloud.

“This is a huge opportunity to apply best practices from the private sector,” Kundra said at a breakfast meeting sponsored by the Bethesda chapter of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronic Association (AFCEA).


Related stories:

Microsoft to open government-only dedicated cloud facility

Google readies goverenment cloud offering


Federal agencies can look to cloud computing and other advanced technologies for new solutions in data storage, Web site hosting and e-mail, Kundra suggested. There are opportunities for consolidation of the federal government’s 1,100 data centers, 24,000 Web sites and its multiple e-mail programs, including 60 e-mail programs at one agency alone, Kundra said.

For data centers, which have increased in number from 400 in 1998 to 1,100 currently, the current path of growth is not acceptable or sustainable, Kundra said. Energy costs alone are prohibitive, he added.

“It is a huge problem,” Kundra said. “The path we are on does not make sense.

Kundra said Richard Spires, CIO at the Homeland Security Department, and Michael Duffy, CIO at Treasury, are leading a federal data center consolidation effort.

Their first task will be to take a complete inventory of all current data center infrastructure, including servers, networks and routers. In seeking possibilities for data center consolidation, cloud computing could be a solution, Kundra suggested.

“If you are running an application on 10 servers, and move it to cloud computing, what are the rewards of that?” Kundra said. He said the federal government is looking for “game-changing approaches” to deal with the problematic growth in data centers rather than “brute force consolidation.”

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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