Demand for cloud skills up

August 31, 2011

More than 3,000 job ads, looking for people with cloud computing skills, were placed online in July. That’s an increase of 68 percent over July 2010, according to WANTED Analytics.

Not surprisingly, Washington, D.C. was listed as one of the five cities where hiring demand for positions with cloud skills was highest. Others included Seattle, San Francisco, New York and San Jose, which topped the list.

“As companies shift IT investments to cloud-based applications, demand for these skills should continue and recruiting conditions will be moderately difficult across the U.S.,” according to a PRWeb release.

There are, on average, 10 candidates for each cloud computing job in the U.S., according to WANTED Analytics.

“It is likely that employers and staffing firms will compete heavily to source qualified candidates,” according to the release. “However, each location will experience varying degrees of difficulty. For example, Seattle’s talent pool is smaller than average, with just eight potential candidates per advertised job in July. In comparison, the talent pool in New York consists of 16 candidates per job, larger than the national average.”

Some of the jobs that listed a need for cloud computing skills: computer programmers, IT specialists, computer software engineers, computer system engineers, and web developers.


Cloud use continues to grow, new report shows

August 27, 2011

While the number of agencies adopting cloud computing continues to grow so does the number of private sector companies, according to a new report.

72 percent of the IT professionals surveyed said they plan to increase their use of the cloud over the next year. Of those, 64 percent said they plan to spend at least five percent more on cloud in that same time period.

The survey was conducted by CompTIA, a non-profit IT trade association.

Some of the major reasons given for companies’ decisions to use the cloud:

  • 49 percent said it’s to cut capital expenditure costs on hardware and other systems,
  • 44 percent said it’s to cut costs overall,
  • 33 percent said it’s to add new features and capabilities they can’t get with other models.

The study also found medium-sized companies (revenues from $10 million to $99.9 million annually) are the ones using cloud the most. 64 percent of them have adopted cloud computing. 58 percent of large companies (revenues greater that $100 million) are using the cloud. Small-sized companies reported using cloud computing the least. Only 36 percent of them have jumped into the cloud.

Perceptions on cloud computing are also getting more positive. 72 percent of those surveyed said they felt more positive about the cloud this year than they did last year. 25 percent said their opinion on the cloud hasn’t changed, according to TMCnet.

542 “IT end-user customers, influencers, and solution providers” were surveyed by CompTIA from June 29 – July 13. The study is called, “Cloud Computing: Pulling Back the Curtain.”


DoD to issue commercial cloud policy directive

August 24, 2011

The Department of Defense will soon issue a commercial cloud computing policy, according to agency chief information officer Teri Takai.

“We’re going to be moving in many cases toward a private cloud construct, but we’re thinking about the possibilities for commercial cloud,” Takai told an audience at the annual Defense Information Systems Agency conference, according to Information Week. “One of the things my office is working on is, as we move toward commercial cloud, what does that mean and what do we need from a DoD perspective.”

Takai didn’t give any more details on the actual release of the policy.

Takai also discussed the Army’s new enterprise email system and what it means for other branches of the military. The Army’s system is built in the Defense Information Systems Agency’s private cloud. She said she would like to see others use it if they see value in it.

“Remember that enterprise email doesn’t necessarily mean that everybody goes to DISA. We have to get to a common identity management structure, we have to get to a common directory structure, we have to be able to collaborate. That’s really the infrastructure that’s critical here. We’re working with the Navy right now to say, ‘What does that look like for Navy?’ My preference is to work through the technical details to get to our end objective, because when you do that, you don’t have to dictate. Otherwise, if I dictated something, I’m going to be the bad guy every time somebody’s BlackBerry doesn’t work. That doesn’t get you to the end objective.”


This week in the cloud

August 18, 2011

Two big stories this week in the cloud computing arena being covered by Federal News Radio.

Two firms protest GSA’s email cloud RFP

The General Services Administration’s $2.5 billion email-as-a-service contract is under protest. The two vendors filing the pre-solicitation protests said GSA’s requirement to have a government-only cloud is a “restrictive specification” and therefore not allowed under federal acquisition rules. Federal News Radio’s Jason Miller reports GSA is continuing to evaluate offers while it waits for a decision by the Government Accountability Office, which is expected by Oct. 17.

Army cloud email a ‘pathfinder’ to enterprise services

After being on hold for the past month, the Army on Tuesday resumed the migration of its 1.4 million email users around the world to the cloud. Federal News Radio’s Jared Serbu reports, Army leaders are now aiming to have the entire migration completed by March of next year. The Army sees this as its starting point for greater use of the cloud. Once the email migration is complete, Mike Krieger, the Army’s deputy chief information officer, said his agency plans a new wave of enterprise services enabled by a more unified network, including collaboration tools in the cloud.


Privacy policies will change by 2012, new research suggests

August 14, 2011

Recent security breaches have put a spotlight on companies’ privacy policies. According to new research from Gartner, at least half of the companies that host their clients’ data will be forced to update their privacy policies by the end of 2012 to appease their customers.

In addition to the security breaches, customers’ worries about where across the globe their data is being housed also play a role. Read Write Web says there is a “trend among cloud customers to request that their data only be housed in jurisdictions where law enforcement agencies would not be entitled to seek court-warranted access to them.”

But, Gartner Research Director Carsten Casper says instead of demanding your data be stored in a specific country, companies should tell their vendors where they don’t want their data stored.

“Don’t demand storage in a specific country for privacy purposes alone,” Casper was quoted on Read Write Web. “There are other cases when sensitive company information should not leave the country (for example, if there are export control or national security concerns), but in most cases – and usually under conditions – in-country storage is not mandatory for privacy compliance. In some cases, it will be sufficient to ensure that personal data will not be stored in a specific country that is known for its privacy violations.”

Gartner says, cloud computing is one of six areas that will be at the top of privacy officers’ agendas for the remainder of 2011 and 2012, in addition to data breaches, location-based services, offshoring, context-awareness and regulatory changes.


Navy issues RFI for cloud services

August 12, 2011

The Department of the Navy has issued two requests for information on data storage and cloud-based collaboration systems, including email. Navy, like so many other agencies, is looking for ways to cut its expenses through its IT spending.

According to Federal News Radio reporter Jared Serbu, the Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command is contemplating “a public-private data center model to consolidate the dozens of facilities operated by the Navy and Marine Corps into a more rational footprint, as well as a commercial solution to cloud-based email and collaboration.”

It wants to explore software-as-a-service offerings that include email, word processing, spreadsheets, presentations and groupware, as well as audio and video chat, instant messaging, and calendaring.

Interested parties are asked to respond to the announcement by Aug. 29.


Where will VanRoekel take cloud computing?

August 8, 2011

Steven VanRoekel was named the second-ever federal chief information officer this week. VanRoekel is no stranger to government. He most recently worked at the U.S. Agency for International Development. Before that he was at the Federal Communications Commission and Microsoft.

VanRoekel will be taking over where Vivek Kundra leaves off – leading an IT community that has been charged with helping the government save money via data center consolidation and using newer, innovative technologies like cloud computing. Under his leadership, the FCC was the first agency to take its full web presence to a FISMA-compliant cloud.

“What I really saw at the Federal Communications Commission is that this notion of re-imagining government in the context of the pace of innovation of private industry can be done in government,” VanRoekel said at a White House press briefing this week. “And it can be done in such a way that can save money, save resources and everything else. We were in lock step with Vivek’s team here on data center consolidation, our cloud-first policy and using tools like TechStat and all of that, even though we were an independent agency we were doing everything to close that productivity gap and make things better. I saw what could be done. Now I’m really excited about the ability to take that work and scale it to the broader notion of government and take the momentum and impact things broadly.”

VanRoekel will have one week on the job with Kundra before Kundra leaves for a fellowship at Harvard University, but it’s clear the work Kundra started will be expanded upon under the new CIO.

“Vivek’s work was really the first step in a larger rework of government IT,” VanRoekel said. “It lays an amazing foundation on which we can build a new set of phenomenon. Looking at things like more in the open government space, looking at shared services across agencies, looking at procurement, purchase and IT investment models are something I really want to explore. This is all very early thinking, of course. These are all things I’ve struggled with at the FCC, that we found creative ways to work in the context of government, and I’m excited that can actually scale pretty broadly.”


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