Future online storefront to let agencies buy computing services

A storefront for federal agencies will provide a consumer-like way to buy technology

A new storefront for the federal government will let agencies acquire cloud computing technology as easily as consumers can sign up for Gmail accounts, federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra said today.

Under current rules, it can take an agency 18 months to two years to acquire technology that is available instantly to consumers, Kundra said at the Cloud Computing Symposium held at the National Defense University in Washington. The experience of acquiring technology for personal use and buying it for the government should be the same, he said.

The storefront will provide that access to cloud computing technology, he said. “We will abstract all the complexity for agencies so they do not have to worry about federal compliance, certifications and accreditations. So literally,  you’ll be able to go in as an agency and provision technology on a real-time basis.”

A federal cloud computer working group is examining how government agencies can use the technology. There will likely be a shift toward service-oriented technology in three areas: software as a service, platforms as a service, and infrastructures as a service, Kundra said.

Agencies are often slow at adopting technology because the acquisition process is too difficult and complex, Kundra said. Agencies sometimes build technology in-house at 10 times the cost of commercial tools because in-house work is easier, he said.

Plans are also under way to build a federal government cloud specifically for sensitive information, Kundra said.

A major problem for agencies in adopting cloud technology is that in a public cloud, organizations do not know where data is physically stored. A private cloud controlled by the federal government would alleviate that problem, Kundra said.

Federal agencies need the flexibility of having access to both public and private cloud computing environments, he said, adding, “The reality is we cannot operate in just one world.”

About the Author

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Federal Computer Week.

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