Feds launch Apps.gov; Cloud computing players salivate

Feds launch Apps.gov; Cloud computing players salivate

Summary: The Federal government launched Apps.gov, a site designed to be a storefront for approved cloud computing applications. The move is designed to streamline application adoption at federal agencies.

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Updated: The Federal government launched Apps.gov, a site designed to be a storefront for approved cloud computing applications. The move is designed to streamline application adoption at federal agencies.

U.S. CIO Vivek Kundra said in a briefing Tuesday that Apps.gov is designed to lower costs and push innovation into government agencies. The cloud-based software on Apps.gov are housed centrally and available via various devices. Kundra billed the effort as "a one-stop source for cloud services." The site features business applications, cloud services, productivity apps and social media software.

Indeed, Apps.gov streamlines the mammoth procurement processes that can slow down deployment. Since Apps.gov features pre-approved software agencies and departments know they are already compliant with various federal policies.

Needless to say technology vendors were stoked about the Apps.gov vision. Why? The government is the only reliable source of IT spending right now. Sam Diaz was on scene at Kundra's talk and has analysis an analysis: Washington finally embraces tech; the benefits will be here soon.

Companies listed in the store include Salesforce.com, Google Apps, Carahsoft Technology Corp., Combinenet, Integrated Solutions Inc. Perusing the Apps.gov it's clear that Salesforce.com's Force.com platform and Google Apps dominate the store. Also note that cloud IT services are deemed "coming soon" by Apps.gov. In the social media category, Apps.gov features a series of free apps including Scribd, SlideShare and CoolIris among others.

Here are some of the comments from the cloud set.

Amazon Web Services says the government's cloud announcements are "a very positive step in helping federal agencies take advantage of these same benefits." Not so surprisingly Amazon Web Services is interested in pitching its wares to the Feds. Amazon CTO Werner Vogels said:

It is exciting to hear these CIOs talk about how cloud computing can help the Federal Government focus on those activities that can really deliver real value for its citizens...We are excited and looking forward to counting the Federal Government among our customers and helping them achieve their goals.

Salesforce.com said in a statement that its applications have been selected for Apps.gov.

At the event, Sam relayed that VMware and Google, which hopes to encourage government use of Google Apps, were also enthusiastic about the move. More coverage to come.

updated:

As previously mentioned, both VMWare and Google were at today's announcement and shared their perspectives, as well as some news.

VMWare VP Aileen Black explained how VMWare's efforts to bring virtualization to the equation is already on the government's radar. Beyond the cost savings that comes with virtualizing data centers, she also emphasized how the company and its technology are also helping the government to reduce its carbon footprint. To drive home the point, she shared stats from government agencies that have already adopted VMWare technology.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy decreased energy consumption by more than 5 million kilowatts-per-hour per year, decreased the electrical and HVAC load at its data centers and saved 3,944 tons of CO2, the equivalent of about 686 cars being taken off the road.
  • The U.S. House of Representatives Office of the Chief Administrative Officer consolidated more than 400 physical servers to less than 100 and reduced power consumption by about 45 percent.
  • The Navy-Marine Corps Intranet consolidated about 2,000 servers into 300 while maintaining consistent computing service levels, reducing power and cooling costs by about 65 percent and expecting to save about $1.6 million annually by the end of this year.

Google execs, including co-founder Sergey Brin, were also on-hand to announce a dedicated Google cloud for government customers in the U.S. This cloud, expected to be operational next year, will be designed to serve the specific needs of federal, state and local governments as it pertains to security and other policy requirements that go beyond what's dictated in FISMA (Federal Information Security Management Act).

Google also announced that the process to make Google Apps compliant with FISMA and secure government certification is nearing completion and they hope to have a response from the government by the end of the year.

(Sam Diaz contributed to this report.)

Topics: Government US, Amazon, Cloud, Government, Hardware, Virtualization

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49 comments
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  • Any bets on how long it takes someone to hack in and screw it up? (nt)

    ...
    ths40
    • A Goverment (any goverment) support venture - LOL - probably not long nt

      nt
      ItsTheBottomLine
      • That's too simple minded for futher comment

        You do well with only one neuron.
        schmandel@...
  • Why don't I feel good about this???

    Hmmm... Could it be that some government a55-
    clown could store sensitive data in the
    cloud... And that there are tons of other
    countries with extremely skilled hackers that
    would love to get their hands on anything they
    could find.

    There is no real security in the cloud and
    expecting government workers of all people to
    realize that is ridiculous, especially
    considering the message being sent by pointing
    them to Apps.gov.
    i8thecat
    • Come again?

      [i]There is no real security in the cloud[/i]

      Please explain how your data center is more secure than the cloud.
      IT_User
    • And that's a 2 way street folks!

      I just bet that these "security agency" numb nuts would just love it if you were all to put your private data into something like this ... wouldn't that save them a lot of work tracking it all down in the first place then?

      "Gimme a look at all your data there son so that I can pigeon hole you into one or two of our relevant boxes"
      Johnny Brandie
  • Is this effort really necessary??

    Apps.gov... It seemed as it would list web services from all federal agencies that can be shared by these agencies so they can avoid redundancies?. But this is like an app store for federal agencies where they can shop for web hosted apps ("cloud computing"). Not sure what sense it makes to push cloud computing so much, can't the agencies decide for themselves what tools they need? Is this effort really necessary?
    Nitin_S
    • This is a service...

      Being explored by GSA,Government Services Administration. GSA provides such services to all governmental agencies, if services are deemed necessary. The government does this to try and standardize operation and give the taxpayers the best bang for their bucks. We found, on numerous occasions, that piece-meal systems often times does not work efficiently and sometimes does not work at all. A standardized system is the best way to go. So, the GSA is the way to go, since GSA is determining the best possible senario if the cloud is to be deployed by the government.
      eargasm
  • RE: Feds launch Apps.gov; Cloud computing players salivate

    nnnnnnooooooooooooooooooooo man what are they going to do run active directory on there??

    Damn what is this going to do to all the IT jobs?!?!

    no more system\network admins....
    tlipur@...
  • RE: Feds launch Apps.gov; Cloud computing players salivate

    When I worked as a contractor there was always an effort to get different groups to use similar applications and work environments to get reduce redundancy in hardware, software, people-costs etc. This obviously hasn't gone away.

    What concerns me this is moving services into a "cloud", especially an external cloud, for any organization is not an effort to be taken lightly. Its need quite a bit of study and analysis to make sure the check and balances are in place to make it's worth the effort in reduction of complexity, human resource needs, data protection / recovery, etc.

    The data is another big question. Do you own it ? Maybe from a content standpoint yes but what about mobility of said data ? If you do decide to move to "another" CRM cloud provider, did you lock yourself into your current vendor ?

    I just have this feeling some government agencies might use the cloud as an excuse to not do the internal due-diligence they should have already been doing to clean up some internal messes already existing. Hopefully they do the first effort research into cloud and understand immediately the cloud isn't for everything and tread carefully.
    sw-mobboy
  • List of 5 things the government does well:

    1.
    2.
    3.
    4.
    5.

    I'm guessing cloud computing won't make the list either.
    TranMan
    • Worthless

      A cliched and generally worthless post. The hyper-simplistic concept of "Everything that government does is bad." is useful only for those too lazy to actually think about things.
      JimSatterfieldW
      • Worthless... still!

        And yet, you couldn't name one thing to put on his list. Instead you ranted on his post and how lazy he was... oh wait, you didn't name anything either... and instead resorted to name calling, which is usually a sign that you can't debate intellectually.

        And you completely mischaracterize the concept...

        Not everything government does is bad. But everything government does is riddled with waste, corruption, poor quality of service, massive cost overruns, and run by bureaucrats. But maybe you don't consider those as negatives...
        dominigan
      • Actually outside of a damn good military

        the Goverment pretty much is a lame duck - and it just got worse.
        ItsTheBottomLine
      • Worthless...maybe

        But it certainly engendered a considerable amount of discussion, didn't it?

        I suggest that you re-read my "hyper-simplistic" post.

        The concept was not that, "Everything the government does is bad", but rather, that *nothing* the government does is done well. At the Federal level, *every* program, every department, every budget is fraught with ineptitude, influence, waste, and corruption. That's just the way it is.

        I challenge you to name a single government function that is done well--that means that it accomplishes what is intended, does it efficiently (at a reasonable cost to taxpayers, and without undue waste), and is not overly influenced by outside forces (big companies with money or foreign governments).

        Think about it for a few days, or a few years. You won't find any examples. When you don't, you will understand my post, and will have taken the first step to becoming a conservative (NOT a Republican, a conservative).

        By the way, don't even consider that our highway system might qualify--remember that I am a "Tran"Man.

        TranMan
    • Maybe one thing

      List of 5 things the government does well:
      1. Military
      2.
      3.
      4.
      5.
      ddelude@...
      • Agreed - !nt

        nt
        ItsTheBottomLine
      • The military is still not a good example...


        Even in the military, there is a lot of waste and duplication and a lot of mismanagement.

        Besides, with the military, there is no competition. If the military were able to be outsourced, it might be run a whole lot better than it is now.

        So, as far as I'm concerned, the list still remains empty from 1 through 5.
        adornoe
    • How about this?

      1. Get trained firemen and equipment anywhere within 3 minutes.
      2. Provide medical care to everyone over 65.
      3. Provide free education to every kid in America.
      4. Take astounding photographs of deep space from a satellite
      5. Hand deliver an envelope across the county for less than 50?.

      See, I can come up with 5 and not even include the 50% of the budget
      that goes to the military.
      springerj
    • How about

      1. Roads, without government funding you would not have interstate highways

      2. Government funded research and development. Many of the technologies we have come from the space race of the 60's and the need for technological advancement during the World Wars.

      3. Employment Regulations - Slave Labor, Child Labor, Harrassment... Take your pick

      4. Public Education... Even as bad as it has become with no child left behind, the fact is that without public education and colleges many would not even have their jobs, and this may apply to you?

      5. Intelligence, People may complain about the security of this country, but you know what there are other countries that have terrorist attacks daily.

      6. Law enforcement, who else would you call when someone breaks into your home?

      7. Fire departments, Imagine life without fire departments.

      8. National Power Grid, Ever ask yourself what would happen to society if we suddenly lost all power?

      9. Military, as others have said.

      10. Sanitation imagine if you had to live in your own filth...

      11. Disease control.. All but eradicated Polio, Small pox, and other debilitating disease.

      SO complain all you want about government, just remember civilized life as you know it wouldn't exist without it.
      Snooki_smoosh_smoosh