NIST seeks comments on draft cloud guide

May 17, 2011

The National Institute of Standards and Technology is asking for public comments on its latest Cloud Computing Synopsis and Recommendations.

NIST is the government agency responsible for developing cloud standards.

The latest guidance from the agency offers a definition of cloud computing and a look at the differences between public, private, and hybrid clouds. The synopsis also examines the various cloud environments including software-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service, and infrastructure-as-a-service. The guidance also addresses what NIST calls the “open issues” that surround cloud computing including cloud reliability, cloud economics, and cloud security.

In explaining the cloud standards they’ve developed, NIST’s Lee Badger said, “Cloud computing is not a single kind of system. Since cloud computing spans a spectrum of underlying technologies and configuration possibilities, each organization’s requirements call for different cloud technologies and configurations.”

Comments can be sent to NIST via email. NIST is accepting comments until June 13, 2011.


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.

Cloud computing progress to be discussed at NIST forum

March 20, 2011

Government and industry leaders are coming together to discuss progress the government has made to advance open standards in interoperability, portability and security in cloud computing.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology will hold its Cloud Computing Forum & Workshop III April 7-8 at the agency’s headquarters in Gaithersburg, Md.

Working groups formed at the second forum held this past November will give updates on their progress. According to NIST the goals of the workshop are to present updates on:

  • the NIST U.S. Government (USG) Cloud Computing Technology Roadmap,
  • the NIST Standards Roadmap and the Standards Acceleration to Jumpstart the Adoption of Cloud Computing (SAJACC) process,
  • progress by the NIST Cloud Computing Security working group.

Cloud computing business use cases by various government agencies will also be presented as well as the first version of a neutral cloud computing reference architecture and taxonomy.

Federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra and NIST Director Dr. Patrick Gallagher will keynote the event. According to the forum agenda, other keynotes and panelists are still being determined.

Panel topics include:

  • Cloud Computing – Adopters’ Long-term View
  • Can you ever really trust the cloud?
  • Cloud Innovation: Math & Science
  • Cloud Computing Standards Panel – Chicken or Egg?
  • Reference Architecture

Pre-registration is required for the event. Those interested in attending can register online until 5 p.m. March 28.

This week in the cloud

February 13, 2011

NIST cloud guidelines address security, privacy concerns

We told you last week about the two draft cloud documents NIST published. This week, Federal News Radio spoke with NIST computer scientists Lee Badger and Tim Grance about those docs. Federal News Radio host Chris Dorobek also discussed how agencies can take advantage of the costs and efficiencies of moving to the cloud while maintaining security and privacy.

FERC’s Sardar adds citizens’ needs to his tech repertoire

Sanjay Sardar is the deputy chief information officer at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. In an interview on Federal News Radio’s Ask the CIO program, Sardar says FERC is testing or considering cloud computing options for email, Web hosting and data storage. Sardar says one of his top priorities this year is to improve the IT mobility of the agency’s employees.

To hear either of these interviews click the links above.

Sneak Preview: Coming up this week on Off the Shelf, Steve Kempf, commissioner of the General Services Administration’s Federal Acquisition Service, discusses cloud computing. The show airs Tuesday at 10:30 a.m.

NIST publishes draft cloud computing standards

February 2, 2011

The National Institute of Standards and Technology published two draft documents on cloud computing today.

The first offers NIST’s definition of cloud computing and the second offers guidelines on security and privacy in cloud computing.

Both documents are open for public comment through February 28, 2011.

NIST also announced the launch of a new Cloud Computing Collaboration website which it says will “enable two-way communication among the cloud community and NIST cloud research working groups.”

Find more on this story at

What is the government’s role in cloud computing?

January 23, 2011

The Commerce Department and the National Institute of Standards and Technology are trying to figure out what the federal government’s role in cloud computing should be. The agencies are hosting a panel discussion Tuesday with industry leaders and experts from academia to discuss this as well as other national needs.

A media advisory from the Commerce Department says, “Achieving national priorities – which include a Smart Grid for electricity distribution, electronic health records, cybersecurity, cloud computing and interoperable emergency communications –depends upon the existence of sound technical standards. The standards being developed through public-private partnerships for these new technology sectors are helping to drive innovation, economic growth and job creation.”

Some of the questions the agencies hope to answer at the event:

  • What is the appropriate role for the federal government in convening industry stakeholders and catalyzing standards development and use?
  • How should the federal government engage in sectors where there is a compelling national interest?
  • How are existing public-private initiatives in standardization working?

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Federal Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra, and NIST Director Patrick Gallagher will all speak at the event.

Confirmed panelists include:

  • Mark Chandler, General Counsel, Cisco
  • Arti Rai, Professor of Law, Duke Law School
  • Geoff Roman, Chief Technology Officer, Motorola Mobility
  • Raj Vaswani, Chief Technology Officer, Silver Spring Network
  • Stephen Pawlowski, Senior Fellow and General Manager, Central Architecture and Planning, Intel Corp.
  • Ralph Brown, Chief Technology Officer, CableLabs

The event will be held from 9:30 a.m. – 12 p.m., Tuesday, January 25, 2011 at the Department of Commerce.