Agencies to share advice on cloud strategies

June 7, 2011

Later this month, AFCEA Bethesda will hold the first symposium in its four-part Cloud Lifecycle Management series. According to the group’s website, the event will take a look at “how agencies define, plan and measure a successful cloud computing strategy.”

Six months into the Obama administration’s cloud-first policy, focus will be placed on how far agencies have come and the progress being made in order to reach their 12- and 18-month cloud goals.

According to AFCEA, some of the issues that will be addressed include:

  • how agencies are deciding between public, private and hybrid clouds,
  • the expected cost savings of using the cloud,
  • the risks of moving to the cloud, and
  • where the cloud strategy will be over the next year.

Confirmed speakers for the event include:

  • Earl Crane, director of the cybersecurity strategy division in the Office of the Chief Information Security Officer at the Department of Homeland Security
  • Lisa Davis, assistant director of information technology and chief information officer in the U.S. Marshals Service at the Department of Justice
  • Rick Holgate, assistant director for science & technology and chief information officer at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives
  • Dawn Leaf, senior advisor and senior executive for cloud computing in the Information Technology Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology
  • Bill Lewis, director of the Portfolio Management Division in the General Services Administration’s Federal Acquisition Service
  • Henry Sienkiewicz, chief information officer at the Defense Information Systems Agency
  • Michael Wood, director of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board

The event will be held from 7-11:30 a.m., June 29, at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel in northwest Washington D.C.


Agencies announce 78 cloud projects

May 30, 2011

The Federal CIO Council released Thursday a list of 78 cloud projects being completed by the 25 largest federal agencies.

Starting in December 2010, each agency was required to identify three projects to move to the cloud within 18 months as part of the Obama administration’s 25-Point Plan to Reform Federal IT Management.

Web hosting and email topped the list of cloud projects. Ten agencies are already using or plan to use the cloud for web hosting while 13 want to use the cloud for email.

Collaboration services, geospatial services, and capital planning software were also popular uses of the cloud amongst agencies.

The Department of Homeland Security announced its plans to move its public-facing websites to a public cloud at the Management of Change Conference earlier this month. More details about that plan were released in the CIO Council’s cloud document. DHS plans to migrate 50 percent of the websites it identified by June 2012. The agency believes this will reduce hosting costs by up to 10 percent.

Other agencies, such as the Education Department, are looking towards the private cloud. The agency said it will use a private cloud to offer infrastructure-as-a-service offerings internally. And, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said it will save $50,000 per year by moving its capital planning tool (eCPIC) to the General Services Administration’s private cloud.

In addition to hosting its website, the Office of Personnel Management says it wants to use the cloud for website analytics (measuring the number of visitors, page views, time spent on the site, and website errors).

Other cloud projects include a FOIA case management system for the Social Security Administration and a collaboration services tool for the Commerce Department’s CIO Council.

Does cloud computing give you a headache?

April 21, 2011

The Fed Cloud Blog told you earlier this week about a recent survey of federal IT professionals by InformationWeek. The survey showed 58 percent of respondents are either already using cloud computing or plan to be using it within the next 12 months.

Federal News Radio wanted some more information on the survey, so we asked John Foley, the editor of InformationWeek Government, to join us on In Depth with Francis Rose. Foley says dealing with the administration’s cloud-first policy is giving some IT professionals a headache. Listen to the full interview here.

Francis also spoke to Bob Otto this week about how to consolidate data centers effectively. (Data center consolidation is another of the administration’s top IT priorities.)

Otto was the former chief information officer at the U.S. Postal Service and offered some advice on how cloud computing fits in to data center consolidation.

This week in cloud computing

April 17, 2011

Kundra: Agencies on path for transition to cloud

Agencies are on track with their cloud computing strategies. Federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra told those in attendance at the NIST Cloud Computing Forum and Workshop that all agencies have identified the three systems they will move to the cloud as part of the administration’s cloud-first policy. Kundra gave several examples of agencies that are moving full steam ahead. Read more and listen to Kundra’s speech by clicking the link above.

Six-month budget slashes e-gov fund by 76 percent

Among the cuts agreed to by lawmakers and President Obama in the 2011 budget compromise is a dramatic reduction in the administration’s E-Government fund, which pays for open government websites such as, the IT Dashboard and Federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra testified last week the government has saved $3 billion so far with the use of its 25-point IT restructuring plan. He said the process of adding transparency to IT programs was key to the cost savings the administration has achieved.

Also testifying at the hearing was Dave McClure, associate administrator in the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies at the General Services Administration. McClure said when GSA begins offering cloud email services under a blanket purchase agreement it estimates it will save agencies as much as 44 percent over their current email costs. Read the full story by clicking the link above.

Cloud-first policy, cloud security top of mind for feds

April 12, 2011

Federal News Radio covered two big stories this week on cloud computing. Check them out!

Cloud computing e-discovery risks a concern
Federal lawyers and record managers are watching closely how the General Services Administration, the Agriculture Department and others move their email and collaboration services to private sector cloud computing providers. Federal News Radio’s Jason Miller says they have questions about accessing data if the government faces a lawsuit.

Kundra details cloud-first success stories
Federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra was on hand at the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s latest Cloud Computing Forum and Workshop. During a Q&A session, Kundra discussed some of the success stories for the Obama administration’s cloud-first policy. Listen to the Q&A by clicking the link above.

Obama budget reiterates cloud-first policy

February 15, 2011

President Barack Obama released his FY 2012 budget proposal yesterday.

In it, he reiterates his administration’s goal to move towards a cloud-first policy as a way to create efficiencies in the federal government and, in turn, save money.

“By consolidating data cen­ters and leveraging cloud computing the Federal Government will reduce the Nation’s data center footprint, strengthen security, and yield savings in the form of real estate, energy, equipment, and maintenance costs that can then be redirected to­ward the projects with the greatest benefit to the American taxpayer.”

The President also plans to make government more efficient by:

HUD defines current and future cloud use

February 8, 2011

In our continuing quest to find out how agencies are currently using the cloud and how they plan to use it in the future, Federal News Radio caught up with Chris Neidermayer, deputy chief information officer for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In light of the Office of Management and Budget’s cloud-first policy, we asked Neidermayer where HUD is headed and if the agency is looking at the cloud for anything like email.

Neidermayer says, “Not yet. We’ve tried to narrow our focus to what we have the capacity to support. Those are things that are on the horizon. We have adopted the cloud-first approach where those services are available. We want to define why we couldn’t use them before we eliminate using them. We are in a private cloud for all of our infrastructure…We’re already there in that regard and that has helped us understand the value of those types of services.”

Hear more from Neidermayer and HUD CIO Jerry Williams. Federal News Radio’s Jason Miller recently had them as guests on his Ask the CIO program.