As the IT industry braces for the emerging cloud computing wave, no other sector is as well-suited to operating in the cloud than the federal government. So said a group of cloud computing experts who extolled the benefits of cloud computing while inviting government IT managers to "jump in" and start piloting cloud computing projects.
WASHINGTON-As the IT industry braces for the emerging cloud computing wave,
no other sector is as well-suited to operating in the cloud as the federal
government. So said a group of cloud computing experts, who extolled the
benefits of cloud computing while inviting government IT managers to "jump
in" and start piloting cloud computing projects.
At a FedScoop Cloud Computing Shoot Out
held at the Newseum here, representatives
from major computing companies shared their views on the cloud and its benefits
for government users. The group included Mike Donovan, chief technologist at HP
enterprise services; Yousef Khalidi, a distinguished engineer working on
Microsoft's Windows Azure cloud platform; Werner Vogels, chief technology
officer at Amazon.com; Prasad Rampalli, vice president of the Intel
Architecture Group and director of end-user platform integration at Intel; Mike
Hill, vice president of enterprise initiatives at IBM;
Eran Feigenbaum, director of security for Google Enterprise; and Daniel Burton,
senior vice president of global public policy at Salesforce.com. Dave McClure,
the associate administrator of the Office of Citizen Services and
Communications in the U.S. General Services Administration, moderated the
panel. McClure stood in as a replacement for Vivek Kundra, who was slated to
appear, but who was pulled away to launch the Open Government Initiative,
announced at the same time.
Said McClure of the panelists: "These are not just giants; these are
the redwood trees of the cloud computing industry."
And, given the early attention that the federal government has placed on the
cloud, the FedScoop Cloud Shoot Out could not have come at a better time for
many in the audience representing the government.
"The Obama administration is serious about the availability of the
cloud to the federal government," McClure said. "It is a definite
direction we are going. Cloud computing provides us with the ability to lower
capital expenses. It's scalable; it's a high-performance option for most
agencies. And it's real. We've got several examples of it at many levels in
For his part, Amazon's Vogels said that, in his experience, "the
critical consideration for cloud is not cost, it's flexibility." With
cloud computing, "IT can become an enabler of innovation," he added.
Khalidi chimed in that he agreed with Vogels, noting that Microsoft refers
to that flexibility as "agility" and that this issue comes up
frequently in Microsoft discussions with enterprises.
Meanwhile, Burton of Salesforce.com cut to the chase. "The most
important thing government can do is to jump in," he said. "I think
it would be best to pick a few apps and jump in and try it."
Indeed, Google's Feigenbaum added: "It's not all or nothing. You don't
need to have a complete cloud strategy. You can have things like your messaging
and collaboration suite in the cloud." Moreover, addressing security
concerns that crop up around cloud computing, he said, "I think cloud
computing can be as secure if not more secure than what agencies are running
Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.