The Department of Finance and Deregulation has released a draft consultation strategy for the Federal Government's migration to cloud computing.
The underlying objective for the draft cloud strategy is to "develop a pathway for agencies to rationalise their ICT asset base and to adopt cloud computing where appropriate", according to the document.
Department of Finance's cloud timeline (Screenshot by Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia)
The migration document details a proposed plan over the next five years to move government agencies' computational requirements into a public cloud environment.
The migration is expected to take between five to six years, starting with moving publicly available information to a public cloud environment.
"Finance will transition AGIMO public-facing websites to the public cloud (for example, initial implementations may be: www.data.australia.gov.au, www.data.gov.au and www.govspace.gov.au)," Finance said.
The document points out, however, that migrating private citizen data to the public cloud would not be an option in the near future due to security concerns.
"Transitioning citizen (personal) information to the public cloud is not expected to be a viable option within the next several years unless technology becomes available to adequately address the risks highlighted in this document," the department wrote.
Concerns included the security and privacy of personal data when contained within the cloud. Each department would be required to regularly scrutinise the security environment of its chosen service provider. Data sovereignty and legal compliance was also a concern for the department.
"Agencies should take into consideration that while cloud computing is a growing market; there are still a lack of major cloud vendors having data facilities based in Australia," the report said.
Finance has split the migration plan into three streams, dealing with cloud enablement, public cloud adoption and whole-of-government integration.
Enablement and public cloud adoption for public-facing websites is scheduled in the plan to begin from early this year, while whole-of-government integration will occur from 2012 onwards.
Agencies will be required to notify Finance of their intention to move to cloud to ensure a coordinated whole-of-government approach to cloud migration.
Under the proposed plan, cloud services would be provided to government agencies via a whole-of-government service provider panel. When considering the vendor panel, Finance will take into account data portability, business continuity, data security and disaster recovery. Finance will also consider building a "shopfront" for services, including a vendor catalogue of services to choose from.
Finance listed in its appendix documentation a list of state and federal agencies that had already rolled out cloud deployments or pilots. Agencies included West Australia's Departments of Treasury & Finance and Health, as well as the Federal Departments of Human Services, Immigration and Citizenship and Maritime Safety.