CLOUD2 Commission Spurs, Recommends Federal Cloud Initiatives


A consortium of cloud and academic leaders released a set of recommendations this week that it says will aid the transition of the federal government to cloud computing technologies.

The group also released a buyer's guide with recommendations and best practices for federal government agencies making the move to the cloud.

The TechAmerica Foundation via the Commission on the Leadership Opportunity in U.S. Deployment of the Cloud (CLOUD2) offered up a set of recommendations for the Obama Administration to proceed with its cloud first initiative, through which the federal government will first investigate viable cloud computing solutions for technology purchases in a bid to save money and boost efficiencies in federal IT.

The CLOUD2 recommendations come as Federal CIO Vivek Kundra, a major proponent of government cloud initiatives and creator of the cloud-first initiative, plans to leave his position.

The CLOUD2 commission comprises 71 of the nation's experts from the cloud computing industry and academia who dedicate more than 2,000 hours of work in person and in the cloud. The Commission is led by Salesforce.com Chairman and CEO Marc Benioff and VCE Chairman and CEO Michael Capellas.

Through its buyer's guide and recommendations, the CLOUD2 commission looks to accelerate cloud adoption within the federal government to strengthen the nation's leadership position in the global marketplace and spark the creation of jobs.

"The ultimate goal as we see it is we want the U.S. to maintain its leadership position," said Dave Shacochis, vice president of the global public sector at cloud player Savvis, who also played a big role in the development of this roadmap. Shacochis later added: "This is such a fast-moving environment and the worst you can do in a fast moving environment is coast and let someone else leap-frog you."

The set of best practices was set in motion to give agencies guidelines to evaluate and deploy cloud services.

"The debate around cloud computing is over -- everyone agrees the shift to the cloud is inevitable," Benioff said in a statement.

The CLOUD2 commission offered up 14 recommendations that target four key areas for cloud computing and how the government can leverage it. Those four key areas, or the "four Ts of cloud computing," as Shacochis called them, are trust, transparency, transnational and transformation. Essentially, they look to facilitate trust and security via terms and conditions and SLAs; create transparency and data portability to avoid lock-in; encourage open dialog with international organizations; and set policies and procedures around government IT buying, training and education and creation of incentives to encourage cloud deployments.

Meanwhile, the agency recommended that the government upgrade its IT infrastructure for cloud computing and build out education and training around cloud technologies.

And in the 16-page Cloud First Buyer's Guide, federal agencies are given tips and pointers on how to move into the cloud first policy via best practices. It also details necessary steps in moving into the cloud, including building a business case, evaluating needs and priorities, understanding security and creating an RFP.

Shacochis said that many of the guidelines set forth by the CLOUD2 commission can also be applied to businesses. He said one of the goals is to allow the government to focus on its mission, while in enterprises IT-as-a-service can help them focus on their business objectives.

"Blocking and tackling IT does not provide true value for taxpayers," he said. "If we have a viable cloud ecosystem … that the federal government participates in, we will have better services to our citizens."

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