Are Cloud, Mobile Technologies Driving Federal IT Market Growth?

Grazed from TalkinCloud. Author: Dan Kobialka.

New research suggests that cloud computing, mobile technologies and virtualization tools will help the federal IT market grow over the next few years. Conducted by TechNavio, the study revealed that this market will expand at a 1.67 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2014 and 2019.

"The federal information technology [sector] has evolved rapidly to provide a new platform with the advances in virtualization technology, cloud computing and mobile devices to enhance IT infrastructure and security aspects," TechNavio said. "Such developments offer opportunities to increase the value and accessibility of government resources and encourage greater internal and external collaboration...

Can PaaS carve out its place in the federal cloud?

Grazed from FCW. Author: Troy K. Schneider.

Platform as a service promises significant savings of both time and money. The biggest names in cloud computing all offer PaaS solutions — as do countless providers that specialize in everything from mapping to content management to mobile app development. A few offerings already comply with the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program, and a 2013 survey of federal IT professionals found that 95 percent believed their agency would benefit from migrating to PaaS.

So why is PaaS still mysterious to so many? Partly it’s been a matter of structure and security. Many of the most popular early PaaS solutions, such as Heroku and Engine Yard, were available only in the public cloud, limiting their practical appeal for most federal agencies...

Cloud Computing: Microsoft Azure Government Comes Out Of Preview

Grazed from TechCrunch.  Author: Frederic Lardinois.

Microsoft today announced that its Azure Government cloud computing service for federal, state, local and tribal U.S. governments is now generally available after more than a year of being in preview. This means the service is now open to all U.S. government customers. There are no more preview programs and the service is also now open for all workloads.

By default, Azure Government ensures that all data stays within the U.S. and within data centers and networks that are physically isolated from the rest of Microsoft’s cloud computing solution. It’s in compliance with FedRAMP, a mandatory government-wide program that prescribes a standardized way to carry out security assessments for cloud services...

Pentagon falling short on cloud strategy

Grazed from FCW. Author: Sean Lyngaas.

The Defense Department might be missing out on benefits of the cloud and increasing the risk from cyber threats because of flawed implementation of its cloud-computing strategy, an inspector general report has found. The DOD IG reviewed three cloud contracts from October 2013 to September 2014 and found that DOD authorities did not get the waivers they needed to use a non-DOD-approved cloud service provider because DOD's CIO "did not develop an implementation plan that included assignment of roles and responsibilities and associated tasks, resources and milestones," the report states.

Furthermore, auditors said the CIO did not have a detailed written process in place for getting a waiver. The department also has provided insufficient training to acquisition and contract specialists who buy cloud services, states the report, which was published Dec. 4...

Read more from the source @ http://fcw.com/articles/2014/12/05/dod-ig-cloud-report.aspx

New DoD cloud policy delayed

Grazed from FederalTimes. Author: Aaron Boyd.

The Department of Defense’s new cloud procurement policy — orignally promised for mid-November — is now slated to be released in December, according to a spokesperson from the DoD Office of the Chief Information Officer. In an effort to speed the department’s move to cloud computing, the new policy will divest authority from the Defense Information System Agency to the contracting officers at each branch and agency within DoD.

Before issuing the policy, a memo has been circulating among the component agencies for review, a process that is still ongoing. Despite minor delays, the policy should be signed and released in early December, sooner than later, according to the DoD representative...

Read more from the source @ http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20141202/FEDIT01/312020017/New-DoD-cloud-policy-delayed

NSF Commits $16M to Build Cloud-based, Data-intensive Computing Systems for Open Science

Grazed from ScientificComputing. Author: Editorial Staff.

Tens of thousands of researchers nationwide currently harness the power of massive supercomputers to solve research problems that cannot be answered in the lab. However, studies show this represents only a fraction of the potential users of such resources. As supercomputing — also known as high performance computing or HPC — becomes central to the work and progress of researchers in all fields, from genomics and ecology to medicine and education, new kinds of computing resources and more inclusive modes of interaction are required.

Today, the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced support for two new supercomputing acquisitions for the open science community that will complement existing resources with capabilities that allow advanced computing to be available to a broader portfolio of emerging scientific frontiers and communities. The new resources are anticipated to come online in early 2016...

Read more from the source @ http://www.scientificcomputing.com/news/2014/11/nsf-commits-16m-build-cloud-based-data-intensive-computing-systems-open-science

GSA engages industry on special cloud acquisition category

Grazed from FedScoop.  Author: Billy Mitchell.

The emergence of cloud computing as a high-demand IT solution hasn’t been the clearest in terms of procurement. But now that it appears the technology is here to stay, the General Services Administration wants to create a cloud category in the federal government’s largest acquisition vehicle to make it easier to find and buy.

GSA hosted an onsite industry day Tuesday soliciting feedback from vendors on its proposed addition of a special item number (SIN) for cloud computing to its IT Schedule 70 acquisition vehicle...

DoD's new cloud policy coming in two weeks

Grazed from FederalTimes. Author: Aaron Boyd.

The Department of Defense will be releasing an updated cloud computing policy within the next two weeks, acting department CIO Terry Halvorsen said Thursday. The re-write of the 2012 policy is intended to speed up the procurement process by giving more purchasing authority to individual agencies.

“I was not really thrilled with the original cloud policy that came out,” Halvorsen said. “Mostly because I don’t think we were getting the cloud fast enough.” Noting that you should be careful what you wish for, Halvorsen was tasked with revamping the existing policy to speed up the process without sacrificing agencies’ strict security needs...

Read more from the source @ http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20141107/FEDIT03/311070014/DoD-s-new-cloud-policy-coming-two-weeks

FBI moves to expand computer search powers, complicating Microsoft's push to protect overseas cloud customers

Grazed from GigaOM. Author: Jeff John Roberts.

Microsoft is the midst of a defiant stand against the federal government, insisting that a U.S. search warrant can’t force it to turn over emails located on a server in Ireland. The company has even taken the unusual step of opening itself to a contempt of court order, as part of a larger plan to reassure cloud computer customers in other countries that their data is safe from U.S. surveillance.

But now Microsoft’s high-profile legal campaign, which has received support from the likes of Apple and Cisco, could get under cut from another quarter: the FBI is quietly lobbying Congress to rewrite the rules for search warrants in order to expand their reach. If the lawmakers agree, this would mean that “searches” authorized by American judges would no longer be restricted to a specific geographic location in the United States (which is how search warrants typically work.)...

DOD's Vision for a Commercial Cloud Ecosystem

Grazed from FedTechMagazine. Author: Nicole Blake Johnson.

There was a time when Defense Department officials balked at the idea of integrating commercial cloud services with military networks, let alone hosting sensitive data in a contractor-owned facility. But those sentiments are evolving, along with the options DOD is considering for developing a commercial cloud ecosystem for its users.

The department is exploring two private cloud deployment models that would put commercial cloud technologies in DOD data centers or adjacent to them, the Defense Information System Agency noted in a request for information last month. As the entity charged with tracking how DOD operates cloud connection points and what technology is operating across the network, DISA is exploring those models' viability and whether they warrant a request for proposal to industry...