National Institute on Standards and Technology's Peter Mell said Monday that the US needs "minimal" standards to define cloud computing. Mell, senior computer scientist for NIST's Information Technology Laboratory, stressed that he was not speaking in an official capacity even as he discussed his draft definitions for cloud computing.
He said he saw no issues with the U.S. putting "low-sensitivity data" on public cloud services; indeed, data.gov and USAspending.gov are currently hosted on cloud provider Terremark.
There is a strong push from the top down; newly minted Federal CIO Vivek Kundra is pushing hard for cloud computing usage.
Kevin Jackson, VP of Dataline, met with Kundra and spoke of his overriding determination to cut computing costs by using virtualization and public cloud. Dataline provides IT services for the Department of Defense and intelligence agencies, according to Jackson. He said Kundra wanted to change the procurement system to favor new, cheaper technologies and push towards easier collaboration. Federal CIOs, he warned, would be held to task by Kundra if they did not look at cloud computing first.
The U.S. government is on track to spend more than $77 billion dollars on IT in 2010, according to recent reports, mostly in services from EDS and SAP, making it one of the largest consumers of IT in the world.
The conference was lively: many expressed skepticism that conservative government agencies could quickly change their buying habits. The conference discussions will yield a report on how to start standardizing cloud technology to be presented to the National Defense University Cloud Symposia on Wednesday. Fed CIO Kundra will present a keynote at the Symposia, as well as presentations by Google, HP, IBM and others.