By Paula Klein, TechWeb, published February 15, 2011
Both strongly support the federal government’s call for cloud usage for new IT implementations. NASA has worked with several public-cloud providers to move applications out of the data center, as well as developing its own cloud infrastructure, the Nebula project, which it’s using in-house to supplement local computing resources.
NASA’s Cloud Mission
Chris C. Kemp, chief technology officer for IT at NASA in
It’s part of Kemp’s job to get buy-in for such ideas despite a “large bureaucracy that operates by consensus. In addition to the internal politics, we have a responsibility to demonstrate application portability, security and interoperability with existing systems,” he says. While he expects this to happen over the next few years, the cloud industry overall is still the early stages, according to Kemp.
Utah CIO Steve Fletcher, who is also the immediate past president of the National Association of State CIOs (NASCIO), says many states — like federal agencies — face the challenge of pushing ahead with cloud hosting in spite of internal agency concerns.
Fletcher says that nearly 90 percent of the states are pursuing or considering cloud options, according to a NASCIO survey. Smaller states are more likely to adopt public hosting including data storage, e-mail or sales applications. Agencies most concerned about security — such as those dealing with health, safety or other sensitive data — are proceeding more slowly, he says.
Currently, all government agencies have to comply with the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), a national security standard for IT products and solutions deployed in the federal government. More recently, a newer standard, specifically aimed at cloud compliance, has been introduced. The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) is designed to create security standards for the federal government’s use of the cloud; it may be deployed by the summer.