U.S. Treasury Moves Public Websites to Amazon EC2 Cloud

The U.S. Department of the Treasury is moving Treasury.gov, SIGTARP.gov, MyMoney.gov, TIGTA.gov and IRSOversightBoard.treasury.gov to Amazon EC2 as part of the federal government's shift toward cloud services.

The Department of Treasury has moved its main Website and four other agency sites to Amazon Web Services, said Smartronix, the systems provider that handled the migration, on Jan. 10.

The revamped Treasury.gov Website, SIGTARP.gov, MyMoney.gov, TIGTA.gov and IRSOversightBoard.treasury.gov are all now hosted on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud.

The Treasury.gov site was redesigned on a Microsoft SharePoint 2010 platform hosted on EC2, making it the largest SharePoint implementation in the federal government, according to Smartronix. The new site also uses Systems Center Operations Manager, Data Protection Manager, Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008, Smartronix said.

Smartronix chose Akamai Content Delivery Network to accelerate site performance and to protect against denial-of-service attacks. The Akamai SiteShield service hides the cloud infrastructure from direct public access, making it hard for attackers to overwhelm the site with repeated requests.

Treasury.gov meets the administration's "mandates" for using cloud computing and Web 2.0 technologies, according to Robert Groat, Smartronix's CTO.

The new site brings together social networking tools, Web 2.0 capabilities, faceted search and multimedia resources, Smartronix said. The department will also be writing on a blog for the first time.

The federal government is looking at the cloud to cut costs and to make federal IT operations more efficient. In December, United States CIO Vivek Kundra announced a "cloud first" policy for federal agencies, requiring that all agencies move at least one system to a hosted environment in 2011.

A number of federal agencies rolled out major cloud deployments in 2010, but the Treasury Department is the first cabinet-level agency to move its sites to the cloud, according to Smartronix.

In May 2010 Recovery.gov, the federal Website that enables visitors to track spending under the 2009 $787 million economic stimulus package, became the first governmentwide system to move to the cloud. Other agencies using cloud computing services include the U.S. Army and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The U.S. Army announced in October it will consolidate all its e-mail systems into a platform hosted by the Defense Information Systems Agency. The Army also conducted a pilot program using Google Apps for its Army Family Readiness Group Web portal in 2009.

As for the space agency, NASA has a number of cloud services, including its daily activity-planning software for its Mars Rover on Amazon EC2, its "Be a Martian" educational Website on Microsoft's cloud computing platform and NASA Shared Services Center's customer service portal with RightNow Technologies.

NASA also has its own private cloud, Nebula, which will be available to other agencies as part of NASA Cloud Service. The prerelease of the infrastructure-as-a-service offering, with storage and computing resources, is currently available to all NASA personnel.

The Department of Interior's plan to move e-mail for its 88,000 employees to Microsoft's Business Productivity Online Suite was blocked by the courts after Google sued the department, claiming it didn't get to compete fairly for the contract. The General Services Administration also awarded Google a contract for e-mail and collaboration software services in December.

Cloud computing increases cost-effectiveness, improves efficiency and provides greater flexibility, said Kundra. "This is exactly the kind of game-changing technology required to do more with less," he said.

Smartronix worked with subcontractors Synteractive, TMP Government and KPMG on the Treasury project.