NASA cloud pioneer leaves agency

March 17, 2011

Chris Kemp, NASA’s chief technology officer for IT, is leaving the agency. Kemp announced his resignation on his agency blog saying, “As budgets kept getting cut and continuing resolutions from Congress continued to make funding unavailable, I saw my vision for the future slowly slip further from my grasp.”

Kemp was one of the pioneers behind NASA’s nebula cloud while the chief information officer at NASA Ames, the position he held before coming to Headquarters. Kemp also helped launch while working at Ames. helps agencies buy cloud computing services.

Kemp has also been a big supporter of open source computing. Information Week reports, “the agency donated code from Nebula to OpenStack, an open-source cloud computing project, and at the end of the month, just after his departure, it will host its first-ever open-source summit.”

Kemp has worked for NASA for five years.


Cloud computing tips from NASA’s Chris Kemp

January 3, 2011

NASA’s Nebula Cloud Computing Platform has gotten a lot of attention from agencies looking to move into the cloud. Chris Kemp, the Chief Technology Officer for IT at NASA, spoke with Federal News Radio about his agency’s use of the cloud and how that has morphed over the years.

Initially, the Nebula cloud was developed to get NASA’s thousands of public-facing websites all on the same platform. However, the agency also realized it could use the cloud as an infrastructure-as-a-service offering for compute and storage. Kemp said this is the area that has really gained traction at the agency.

Using the cloud in this way has also helped NASA with efficiency. Kemp said typical utilization of infrastructure is 20 percent but Nebula allows NASA to run at 80-90 percent efficiency.

To help understand all of the various cloud platforms available (both internally at NASA and externally in the private sector), Kemp said NASA has developed a cloud service office.  

“By having expertise in all these areas, as we have a new application, we can consult with them and send them to the right place. Architect [a] solution that involves cloud but that appropriately uses these different technologies because every cloud has different characteristics.”

Kemp recommends all agencies form a group like this as cloud becomes an even bigger focus in 2011 and beyond.

Listen to the full interview with NASA’s Chris Kemp.

GSA: Expect changes to soon

March 25, 2010

Today in our weekly cloud news gathering:

  • Interior’s National Business Center is moving into the cloud. On Federal News Radio’s Ask the CIO this week, host Jason Miller talks with June Hartley, NBC’s chief information officer, who explains why her office is moving into the cloud and what challenges they have faced so far. Click on the audio at the top of the page to listen to the show.
  • The General Services Administration is updating Information Week reports that a number of changes are on the way, including a new information section, a revamped request for quotations for IaaS and a redesign of some of the user interface portions. The agency didn’t give a specific date, but said you can expect changes “soon”.
  • Also, NASA’s Nebula is growing and growing, and is being considered a cloud computing model. On Federal News Radio’s Federal Drive, hosts Tom Temin and Jane Norris talked with Chris Kemp, the Chief Information Officer of NASA Ames, who says the project is continuing to expand.

ACT-IAC’s cloud SIG needs you

January 21, 2010

2010 has already been deemed by some as the year of the cloud.

ACT-IAC is a non-profit, public-private partnership dedicated to improving government through the application of information technology.

They recently started a shared interest group (SIG) on cloud, and Habib Nasibdar is its chair.

He sat down with the Fed Cloud Blog to talk about why ACT-IAC decided to take this step.

Fed Cloud Blog: Tell us a little about this shared interest group. What are your ultimate goals?

Habib Nasibdar: The cloud computing shared interest group — SIG, as we call it — was created [in 2009] and it’s really a forum where industry partners get together with government executives in solving some of the core issues around cloud computing.

FCB How difficult was it to get people together from industry and the federal sector?

HN: It’s never easy to have people on the same page, but I guess the momentum put forward by the administration around cloud computing as part of the federal agenda [helped].

ACT-IAC’s leadership of immediate involvement to drive a dialogue around cloud computing helped tremendously.

FCB: When you have these discussions . . . are you finding that it’s harder for private industry to move forward or public, government agencies to move forward with cloud?

HN: It is actually difficult on both sides. Innovation is always driven by industry, and the government being the client, it drives and fuels that innovation.

It is difficult for government to adopt cloud, at times, because of the issues that they’re facing and trying to resolve.

I believe the dialogue is constant around some of the issues and challenges that federal agencies face in resolving those issues first, before the adoption begins.

FCB: Have you discovered anyone on [either] side who’s got a great set of best practices that everybody else might follow? Or are you still trying to figure out who that is?

HN: This whole cloud computing arena itself is so big, it would be unfair to say that anyone has any best practices, but there are certain federal agencies that have demonstrated, quite effectively, how they have adopted some of the core principles of cloud computing.

For example, you have RACE based out of DISA. They have done an exceptional job. is another DoD initiative. [Also] Nebula out of NASA. And, certainly, there’s

So you have programs that are out there, but best practices are still in the works.

FCB: Do you see cloud computing as a whole facilitating the implementation of best practices [in other areas of government]?

HN Certainly. Cloud computing has a lot of promise.

That’s the reason there’s so much momentum behind it.

The short answer is, certainly, and again, as the discussions go on around cloud computing and federal adoption with industry innovation, I see things getting better.

FCB: Anything else you’d like to add?

HN: We, as a cloud computing SIG, are open to any industry partner who’s a member of IAC.

We have representatives from different perspectives, different functional organizations on our SIG.

What I would like to do is give a shout out to everyone . . . to participate, and help drive this dialogue further.

Find more details about how you can join here.

Upcoming cloud events around town

December 4, 2009

Today we bring you news about events around town regarding the cloud.

Dec. 8, 2009
First up — we already told you about FedScoop’s Cloud Computing Shoot Out. It’s their second event that will focus on U.S. CIO Vivek Kundra’s five pillars of transparent government. This time, panelists will address concerns related to issues surrounding cloud portability, interoperability and security.

Some of the attendees:

  • Werner Vogels, CTO,
  • Yousef A. Khalidi, Distinguished Engineer, Cloud Computing, Microsoft Corporation
  • Michael G. Hill, Vice President, Enterprise Initiatives IBM
  • Prasad L. Rampalli, Vice President, Intel Architecture Group, Intel Corporation
  • Eran Feigenbaum, Director of Security, Google Enterprise
  • Kaveh Vessali, Vice President of Public Sector Solutions,
  • Jeff Bergeron, Chief Technologist, U.S. Public Sector, HP

The Shoot Out will be held at the Newseum and starts at 8 a.m. Register here.

Dec. 9, 2009
The Digital Government Institute presents its Cloud Computing Conference.

Chris Kemp, Chief Information Officer, Ames Research Center, NASA, will deliver the keynote, Government Cloud Computing for 2010: Moving Towards Efficient Operations.

Also, Chris Dorobek of DorobekInsider and Federal News Radio’s Daily Debrief will moderate the panel How to Take Advantage of Cloud Computing Today.

You can register for it here.

Dec. 17, 2009
Also, AFCEA Bethesda Chapter presents IT Infrastructure Management as part of its monthly breakfast series.

The panel will focus on how cloud computing environments, such as NASA’s Nebula and DISA’s Rapid Access Computing Environment (RACE), are changing the landscape of government IT infrastructure management, as well as helping to streamline system, network and storage management.

Speakers include:

  • Casey Coleman, Chief Information Officer, General Services Administration (moderator)
  • Chris Kemp, Chief Information Officer, NASA Ames Research Center
  • Alfred Rivera, Director, Computer Services Directorate, Defense Information Systems Agency
  • Keith Trippie, Executive Director, Enterprise System Development Office (ESDO), Office of the Chief Information Officer, Department of Homeland Security
  • Pete Tseronis, Associate Chief Information Officer, Department of Energy

Register here.

FCB will, of course, attend all of these events and report back, just in case you can’t make it.

Cloud Conversations on ‘GITSS’

September 22, 2009

We call it ‘GITSS’, but the real name of the show is Government IT Solutions Spotlight.

Federal News Radio’s own Chris Dorobek is joined by WTOP’s Adam Tuss to talk about all sorts of issues surrounding IT every Tuesday at 10 a.m.

Which, of course, inevitably brings us to the cloud.

This week, Chris and Adam talk about Nebula with Chris Kemp, CIO at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley.

If you don’t know anything about Nebula — NASA’s cloud platform — I urge you to listen. This is a fascinating interview about how a federal agency is using open source to work in a 2.0 world.

Also, I wanted to highlight a story published on our site last week by Internet Editor Emily Jarvis.

The Daily Debrief talked a lot about the cloud last week, and Emily took two excellent interviews — one with GSA’s Casey Coleman and Dave McClure; and one with Alan Murphy of F5 Networks — to discuss the new site, among other things.

To fully understand the changes that brings to cloud computing, it is first important to have the most up to date version of what the cloud is and what it is supposed to do.

NIST defines cloud computing as “a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction. This cloud model promotes availability and is composed of five essential characteristics, three service models, and four deployment models.” is just the most recent development to the cloud. The website is the federal government’s cloud computing storefront.

I urge you to read more here.