The Obama administration has introduced a cloud computing policy that aims to lower infrastructure costs and reduce the environmental impact of government computing. Federal CIO Vivek Kundra says the plan is the administration's first formal effort to launch a broad system designed to leverage existing infrastructure and cut federal spending on information technology, particularly expensive data centers. Kundra says the government has built numerous, redundant data centers, which has resulted in a doubling of federal energy consumption between 2000 and 2006.
Some aspects of the cloud computing policy already have been released, such as the new Apps.gov Web site, which is a clearinghouse of business, social media, productivity applications, and cloud IT services. The administration hopes the site will become a one-stop shop for many services that previously required extensive IT spending. The second phase will involve budget reform. For fiscal year 2010, the administration will be pushing cloud computing projects in the hope that many lightweight workflows can be moved into the cloud, and in fiscal 2011 the administration will be issuing guidance to agencies. The final phase will include policy planning and architecture that will involve centralized certifications, target architecture, and security, privacy, and procurement concerns.
Kundra says the ultimate goal is to make it easy for agencies to procure the applications they need and to avoid having the government pay to build infrastructure that may be available for free.
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