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Cloud acquisition by federal agencies to be streamlined, standardized

If federal agencies are to pursue a 'cloud-first' policy for technology purchases, they need guidance with protocols and features.
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Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributor on

As reported in recent months, the US federal government, led by US CIO Vivek Kundra, now has an active policy to put cloud-based options before on-site software and systems options in new IT purchasing.

But moving to cloud options could potentially be even more chaotic than the existing huge $80-billion annual patchwork of federal IT purchases. Fierce Government IT is reporting that the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) plans to issue a first draft of a "Cloud Computing Technology Roadmap" by the end of fiscal 2011, intended to provide agencies with a single, standardized process for cloud adoption and management.

The NIST Cloud Computing Standards Roadmap Working Group is spearheading this effort. The goal of the working group and roadmap is to "survey the existing standards landscape for security, portability, and interoperability standards/models/studies/etc. relevant to cloud computing, determine standards gaps, and identify standardization priorities."

Areas to be addressed in the roadmap include the following:

  • SaaS Self-service management
  • Application specific data formats
  • Application functional interfaces
  • Resource description and discovery
  • QoS specification, monitoring, reporting
  • SLA specification and negotiation
  • Billing and metering
  • Identity and access management
  • Provisioning, management, replication, federation
  • Single sign-on plus strong authentication
  • Security auditing and compliance

In addition, the US General Services Administration, the purchasing arm of the federal government, says it intends to release, by summer, the first version of FedRAMP -- which provides common security and monitoring services for cloud services to help agencies avoid guesswork.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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