House Committee to hold hearing on cloud computing

Federal CIO Vivek Kundra may meet pushback in Congressional hearings over his cloud computing plans.

The Daily Cloud

Kundra coming down to earth?
Vivek Kundra faces his first real political test after his cheerful calls for cloud computing at the Fed have met a cool reception from the House Oversight Committee. Chairman Edolphus Towns (D-NY) and Government Management, Organization and Procurement Subcommittee Chairwoman Diane Watson (D-CA) will be holding hearings on his ambitious IT reforms. Their reception to his plans was cool at best:

"There are a number of questions and concerns about the federal government's use of cloud computing. The Committee is examining these issues and intends to hold a hearing on the potential benefits and risks of moving federal IT into the cloud."

That's Congressional-speak for "we were not told how we're going to profit from what you are doing."

The Committee is worried that "there are no clear policies and procedures in place for cloud computing; that standards have not yet been developed for security, interoperability, or data portability; and that a finalized plan for the government-wide implementation of cloud computing is not readily available."

It also cast doubt on Kundra's Cloud Computing Initiative presentation and is generally dour in tone. The hearing has not yet been scheduled, but it will doubtless be a minor spectacle for techno-political junkies.

Amazon makes two big announcements
Amazon Web Services made two announcements this week. The first was that their data upload service, Amazon Import/Export is now open to all, as the retail giant has worked the kinks out of getting hard drives in the mail and uploading to customers' storage accounts. Import/Exports solves the thorny problem of massive data and skinny pipes with typical Amazonian directness -- you pack terabytes in a box and mail it to them, or "Bandwidth by FedEx." Seeing as a terabyte of data transfer can take a week for most broadband customers and FedEx can get it there overnight, the reverse-cloud engineering is proving popular.

And secondly, S3 now interoperates with Amazon's increasing shiny, user-friendly Management Console. Users can point, click and manipulate objects with a mouse instead of a keyboard, something Amazon has been building on for about a year. The Management Console also lets users point and click for EC2 instances and other services, and helps AWS overcome the perception as "too technical." Cloud 2.0 upstarts have built browser functionality in from the start, and Amazon has been forced to play catch-up on its user interface.

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