, move into the Internet cloud

The General Services Administration announced it will soon begin using cloud computing as the primary means for hosting and supporting the government’s official information web portals, and its Spanish-language companion site,

“This is a significant step for us, as well as for the federal Web and [information technology] communities,” said Martha Dorris, acting associate administrator for the Office of Citizen Services and Communications at GSA, in a prepared release.

“We expect to reduce our Web management costs by more than 50 percent, while simultaneously building a foundation for a whole new generation of Web 2.0 and other online services to citizens,” she added.

The increasing ability to tap into readily available computing infrastructure and applications in the Internet cloud is prompting organizations to reconsider their network computing options. That ability is being fueled by the growing use of server virtualization and other technologies that make it easier and more cost effective for network administrators to pool resources and adjust quickly to variations in computing demands. It also makes it easier to manage disaster-recovery strategies, which are required of federal agencies.

GSA said it would make the move to cloud computing with the assistance of Terremark Worldwide Inc., which provides Internet-based computing facilities and support. It did not specify when the changeover was scheduled for completion.

“Since this is still relatively new territory for the federal government, we look forward to widely sharing our experiences,” said Tom Freebairn, acting director of Technologies. and, were launched in 2000 and 2003, respectively, as part of the E-gov Act of 2002 and currently receive more than 140 million visits per year. The two sites have won numerous awards, most recently the Brookings Institution’s recognition as the best federal website.

About the Author

Wyatt Kash served as chief editor of GCN (October 2004 to August 2010) and also of Defense Systems (January 2009 to August 2010). He currently serves as Content Director and Editor at Large of 1105 Media.


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