In particular it’s the Department of Interior (DoI) which is asking none other than Lockheed Martin to build them the infrastructure which will allow the DoI to move from on-premises solutions to cloud computing. This is a one billion, possibly ten year project (or longer) and by the end of it most of the reported 400 different points where DoI data is stored (from data-centers to simple closets) will have been transformed to a much more leaner and secure infrastructure.
CIA has also reportedly struck a deal with Amazon to move aspects of its operations to the cloud. This all paints a familiar picture of cloud technologies allowing operations to become more centralized, greener, more secure and all around more efficient.
However, there is another positive aspect to such already good news. Yes, it does give the signal to vendors and buyers alike that cloud computing is the way to go. But such efforts will also set and adapt the necessary guidelines for a business to operate wholly or partly in the cloud at particular quality level and above.
This is particular important for suppliers selling cloud-related infrastructure and services to the government. Government departments such as the DoI and the CIA going through these exercises – as part of the US Federal Data Center Consolidation initiative – will provide (or update) the guidelines for what a vendor needs to do in order to be compliant.
The aspect of compliance and standards is one of the last issues cloud solutions face (especially when it comes to applying them to government problems). The consolidation process is long – 3 years in the 5 year long program, there’s still no inventory of how many data centers need to be consolidated overall – and the results will take a bit to be appreciated but it will provide valuable lessons on how to eventually fully transition to the cloud.