US CIO Unveils Government Shift to Cloud Computing
“The old Internet is dying off and a new Internet is emerging,” said Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.com, referring to the shift to cloud computing.
The concept, which merges all IT components into one virtual ‘cloud’ for end-users, has been a hot topic in the tech world and was up for discussion on Monday in an opening summit on cloud security at the 2011 RSA Conference in San Francisco.
“We’re moving into one of the most exciting new technology opportunities of our time,” said Benioff on the topic.
But the CEO wasn’t alone in championing for cloud. Vivek Kundra, Chief Information Officer of the United States, was also on site to unveil a new government initiative to move federal agencies over to the model.
“We have a difficult-to-manage infrastructure that’s fragmented across the federal government and poses a security threat,” said Kundra, laying out plans from a newly released report by the US Chief Information Officers Council on ‘Federal Cloud Computing Strategy.’
But beyond being “difficult to manage,” US federal technology infrastructure might also be difficult to locate.
Noting that the government went from having 432 data centers in 1998 to just over two thousand centers in 2010, Kundra pointed out that cloud computing would eliminate the need to set up so many sites that require years to build and ongoing efforts to maintain, when government IT experts could be focusing elsewhere, like on innovation.
To compare, Kundra said IBM went from having 235 data centers in 1997 to only 12 centers in 2009 because of its efforts in the cloud.
“The typical CIOs of the federal government end up spending more time managing this arcane infrastructure than they actually do serving the American people,” Kundra stated.
Announcing the government’s plan to shut down 800 government data centers by 2015, Kundra said the move would free up about $20 billion in funding to enable more focus on the cloud model, including investments in private sector and academic support.
“We’re already on the path to move more infrastructure and more government servers over to cloud, so we can actually tap into innovation that’s happening in Silicon Valley and other parts of the country,” the US CIO noted.
Kundra also pointed out that the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), General Services Administration (GSA), Department of Defense and the Department of Agriculture are all “early adopter” agencies using some form of cloud computing, with HHS moving to electronic health records and GSA’s cloud email migration.
“In the fiscal year of 2012 and beyond, cloud is at the heart of how we’re going to be moving,” Kundra declared, calling it a “fundamental shift” for US government IT.
Here’s a look at other cybersecurity news headlines you may have missed:
US intelligence officials concerned about cyber attack (Los Angeles Times)
DARPA working on major cybersecurity break through (Homeland Security Newswire)
To kill the ‘kill switch’ or not (Defense Tech)
Report sees growth ahead for federal IT services contracts (Washington Technology)
Illinois officials plan for cyber attack (State Journal-Register)
White paper: A model for understanding the cybersecurity we need (GovInfoSecurity)
China behind audacious cyber attack on UK (Tibetan Review)
Huawei and US partner scale back business tie-up (Wall Street Journal)
Lockton white paper warns UK firms over data breaches (Post Online)
UK wants to host international summit on cybersecurity (InfoSecurity)
US Gen. Keith Alexander to present as keynote at RSA Conference (Press Release)