Cloud.gov to give agencies a PaaS
- By Amanda Ziadeh
- Oct 02, 2015
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Agencies will soon have a faster and easier way to develop, run, and manage web applications without the complexity and cost of building and maintaining infrastructure.
Cloud.gov, a joint project of the U.S. Digital Services and the General Services Administration’s 18F agile development shop, will be a platform-as-a-service option that gives agencies an already-stable infrastructure and lessen the burden on IT departments.
According to Noah Kunin, 18F's director of delivery architecture and infrastructure services, the goal with this project was to “bureaucracy hack” a way to the cloud.
When agencies build a new system or implement new technology, they must comply with a long checklist of federal regulations, acts and schedules. Kunin, who discussed Cloud.gov at the Code for America Summit on Oct. 1, told the audience he found he had to read through 4,006 pages of regulatory guidance.
The lengthy development process also affects planning. “In order to create rational plans around technology, we have to have some idea of what our cycle time for our innovations are,” Kunin said. A minor release around new technology, Kunin calculated, would take six to 14 months. However, difficulties along the way with the checklist of compliances could heavily prolong delivery and cause delays.
To fix this process before shipping the final product, Kunin and his team created a new Cloud.gov back-end service. Launching “very soon,” according to Kunin, the platform is a pre-approved PaaS for government, built as a true production cloud that gives agencies a ready-to-use infrastructure upon which to build.
When Cloud.Gov debuts, Kunin said, agencies will not have to wait for approvals or juggle requests when creating applications. In the meantime, users can access Cloud.18F.gov to learn more, receive updates and explore the service’s capabilities.
Other projects that USDS and 18F announced at the summit include an improved, scalable login system for HealthCare.gov, a revamped electronic healthcare information network for the Department of Veterans Affairs, a replacement for VA's outdated Veterans Appeals Control and Locator System, and a preview of the Federal Election Commission's efforts to better consolidate and share campaign finance data online.
Amanda Ziadeh is a former reporter/producer for GCN.