Slowly but Surely, Federal Agencies Move to the Cloud

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In December, U.S. CIO Vivek Kundra revealed his 18-month, 25-point plan to move federal agencies toward cloud computing. Cloud computing will increase productivity and efficiency while saving the government billions of dollars, the argument goes. And it makes sense if he can convince agency IT pros that the security risks associated with operating in the cloud aren't as bad as they're imagining.


The best way to do that, of course, is one system at a time. So Kundra's directive, according to eWEEK, requires every agency to move at least one system to a hosted environment this year. Several agencies have already begun the process.


The Treasury Department moved its website to Amazon EC2 in January. Two months in, there are no complaints, the story says. I've written before about the fight between Microsoft and Google over the contract for the Department of the Interior. Unysis landed a huge contract to provide e-mail and other tools to the General Services Administration.


Perhaps the best known agency to jump on the cloud bandwagon, however, is the Department of Homeland Security. eWEEK reports DHS has budgeted to create a "private cloud" for its e-mail in 2011. The cloud will go online next year.


Speaking of the changes to come in the next year and a half, Kundra told those attending an Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association panel discussion:

We want to make sure the shift is disruptive. ... We want the federal government to move away from asset ownership and shift to service provisioning.