Cloud conversation shifting to new concerns

Discussions around federal cloud computing no longer center around whether to make the migration, but how to do it in a smart way, according to a General Services Administration official.

Delivering a keynote at the Cloud Standards Customer Council’s quarterly meeting in Reston, Va., David McClure, associate administrator GSA's Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies, spoke about the government’s progress in implementing cloud, what challenges it has met and overcome and what lies ahead for federal cloud adoption.


Related stories:

Energy not ready for public cloud

Should you trade data ownership for 'any device' access?


While cloud has the power to bring efficiency and cost savings in the government, “it’s not nirvana, it’s not a magic pill, it’s not a magic wand,” McClure said.

“CIOs, I think, are really struggling right now to understand where cloud computing fits in their overall investment, source and strategy,” he said. “One thing we’ll see as this matures is that federal CIOs really have to [plan for] cloud in context of what they’re trying to deliver and how they’re trying to deliver it.”

Cloud computing has also brought about a significant shift in the procurement area, with the government acquiring more services than actual products. Scalability, elasticity, pricing as we go have all been foreign concepts to the current procurement process, making it challenging for cloud to “just step into this very easily,” McClure said.

Federal CIOS should open up the dialog on smart cloud computing by asking what exactly cloud computing is expected to achieve and whether it produces not only cost savings from a pure IT operational perspective but also helps in mission delivery, McClure said.

Most of the federal cloud deployment today can be found in low-risk categories such as public-facing websites, Software-as-a-Service, e-mail, mobile apps and infrastructure modernization, McClure said. As for agencies moving their moderate- or high-risk systems to the cloud, don’t expect that to happen anytime soon, he said.

“We don’t see a mad march in taking mission-critical applications and systems and offloading them into a cloud environment,” McClure said.

 

About the Author

Camille Tuutti is a former FCW staff writer who covered federal oversight and the workforce.

Featured

  • Contracting
    8 prototypes of the border walls as tweeted by CBP San Diego

    DHS contractors face protests – on the streets

    Tech companies are facing protests internally from workers and externally from activists about doing for government amid controversial policies like "zero tolerance" for illegal immigration.

  • Workforce
    By Mark Van Scyoc Royalty-free stock photo ID: 285175268

    At OPM, Weichert pushes direct hire, pay agent changes

    Margaret Weichert, now acting director of the Office of Personnel Management, is clearing agencies to make direct hires in IT, cyber and other tech fields and is changing pay for specialized occupations.

  • Cloud
    Shutterstock ID ID: 222190471 By wk1003mike

    IBM protests JEDI cloud deal

    As the deadline to submit bids on the Pentagon's $10 billion, 10-year warfighter cloud deal draws near, IBM announced a legal protest.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.