The U.S. government’s interest in the cloud is no secret. What’s less apparent is how adoption will evolve. Daniel Kent, director of federal solutions at Cisco Systems, recently shed some light on cloud’s government path. Speaking at a Digital Government Institute webinar, Kent suggested agencies are taking a cautious approach, amid cloud security concerns.
“When we talk about true adoption of cloud, trust is the key element of making that happen,” Kent said.
As it happens, the Federal Trade Commission has scheduled a roundtable later this month that will discuss the privacy implications of cloud computing among other technologies.
Kent said standards bodies are addressing the security issue. In the meantime, agencies have taken a two-pronged approach to the cloud: piloting public cloud use while developing private clouds.
“Most agencies are dabbling with the public cloud with specific, low-risk applications,” Kent explained.
He said government organizations seek to work with the public cloud to take advantage of the cost model or to become more familiar with the concept. In parallel to the public cloud activity, agencies are building out private clouds, Kent noted.
Federal private clouds include the Defense Information Systems Agency’s Rapid Access Computing Environment (RACE). RACE lets Defense Department customers order test/development and production computing platforms.
As agencies journey toward the cloud, some will need help getting there, according to Kent. He said vendors, systems integrators, and cloud experts will wrap services around the cloud.
Cloud ApplicationsKent, whose talk focused infrastructure as a service (IaaS), identified a number of candidates for this aspect of the cloud.
- Testing and validation activities that have a short life span. Investing in on-premise hardware for a six-month project may not prove the best use of resources, Kent said.
- Temporary locations. Government entities move from time to time, Kent noted, citing DoD’s base closure and realignment process as an example. The IaaS approach can provide an interim computing solutions while a data center is built in the new facility.
- Business continuity.
- Web applications with unpredictable loads.