Vendors tell OMB to keep it simple on cloud

multicloud environment (artstocker/ 

Some heavy hitting cloud providers acknowledge there are differences in public and private service models, as well as what services might be, but they don't recommended recasting the existing definition carved out by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. 

In comments on the administration's Cloud Smart policy, Google said it's hard to pin down exactly what constitutes a "cloud." It said the Office of Management and Budget accurately observed that not all outsourced technology services can be included in "cloud," just because an outside vendor provides them.

Despite that, it said the NIST definition of cloud computing, which includes software, infrastructure and platform-as-a-service models; public, private, community, and hybrid deployment models and other definitions, "should continue to be the operative one for the government," the company said.

However, Google added that "all cloud deployment models are not the same.… "Federal solutions,"it said "should not end with whether it meets the technical definition of cloud" but should push the greatest benefit to the agency using it.

Amazon Web Services said the White House could  better articulate its vision for cloud. For instance, the company said the administration should directly leverage the vision in Report to the President on Federal IT Modernization.

"Directly aligning the Cloud Smart Strategy to the IT Modernization Report will rightly emphasize a clear vision for a modernized government that focuses on security and delivery of better citizen services," AWS said. That report, it said, has sections that "send a clear message" to federal agencies on the administration's vision for a modernized government supported by strong technological capabilities.

The company urged OBM to "recommit" to existing definitions of cloud and said it doesn't "believe a new definition of cloud is necessary."

AWS warned that telling agencies to use specific words such as "multi-cloud" or "hybrid" cloud, could force agencies into buying services that don't meet their needs or add unneeded complexity.

Open-source software provider Red Hat recommended retaining a focus on hybrid and multi-cloud environments. The company, which is set to be acquired by IBM for $34 billion, added that s "technology-neutral" cloud solutions "should be front and center in agency plans."

The Cloud Smart policy, it said, should stress the importance of agencies developing a strategy or plan for cloud adoption and, not surprisingly, use open source standards for software interoperability among cloud providers to encourage greater application portability.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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