Feds launch Apps.gov; Cloud computing players salivate

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.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

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.


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.)

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