Participate in a public forum on cloud

There’s a lot of information about cloud computing out there, and one company is trying to gather it all in one place, just for you.

Maria Francesca is director of corporate engineering operations for the MITRE Corporation and tells us about a new forum they’ve established where you can go to participate in discussions about the cloud.

MF: MITRE recognized that industry often approaches our government partners with lots of information and it’s hard for them to always sift out what they’re being told, so we thought, on behalf of our government partners, that we would establish a public forum that would provide them meaningful answers to common questions in cloud computing, leveraging the leading thinkers in the field. So, this includes industry, other government agencies, academia and other federally-funded research and development centers.

FCB: How does this work? Where can people go online? Can anybody sign up?

MF: Sure. We’ve established a place on our public Web site — — and it’s a moderated forum, basically. We post a question per month and solicit industry input on those questions, and, at the end of the month, we summarize what we’ve heard back from industry. At that link, there’s also a place where you can send in an email to submit a question, or . . . you can submit responses and comments.

FCB: Ok. We have here this past month’s

— what can government do to facilitate the adoption of cloud computing to more effectively provide more IT services? What kind of response and feedback are you getting from this question — and others — so far?

MF: We had some great responses from a number of industry participants, which you can see on the Web site . . . as well as input from a government organization and a university. So, it was a really great response.

We found that government leaders need to determine whether cloud computing concepts can meet their needs, and how they can leverage them to maximize benefit and minimize risk — and [most] really said there’s not a “one size fits all” approach to cloud computing, you need to make the trade off.

We will be posting a paper on this topic in the very near future.

FCB: That was going to be our next question. So, after you collect all of this information from different people from industry and government and the private sector, how do you bring that all together? Is it always a paper that’s published?

MF: Well, we’ve just gotten started, so I’m not sure we completely know which direction this is going to go yet. Sometimes it will be a paper. On other topics we’ve done podcasts. It could take a variety of forms.

FCB: If you could, give us a rundown of some of the other topics you’ve explored so far, or maybe even give us a preview of a topic or two you plan to talk about in the future.

MF: Separate from the cloud topic, we did put together a series of materials on service oriented architecture, which is not unrelated to cloud computing. That took more of a traditional form in terms of a set of papers that are also available on our website — and a couple of podcasts.

We do have a long list of questions that we think our customers have on cloud computing that we will be posting in the future, but we’re really hoping to solicit that input more interactively from the government.

FCB: Gotcha. So, is this one of those things where you decided to look at service oriented architecture and then discovered [that] there’s cloud computing [questions] — and, now that we’re looking at cloud computing, here’s this other topic that we didn’t even know about?

MF: Yes . . . that’s pretty much how it happened. We noticed that [SOA] was a hot topic amongst customers, and, similarly, there’s a lot of information out there [and] it’s hard to figure out how to really leverage all of that. Really what we’re trying to do is leverage the industry to help our customers on these challenging topics. We do a little advanced looking at what kinds of things might be coming up as issues in the future and try to provide some help along those lines.

FCB: What, in terms of the broader spectrum — how does MITRE service the federal government? What’s your overall, overreaching goal?

MF: We have quite a bit of information about this on our Web site, but we really were founded to serve the public interest and provide strong systems engineering support on national defense issues.

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