On May 20, 2010, Vivek Kundra, Federal Chief Information Officer, issued
guidance regarding cloud computing:*
By September 2011 – all newly planned or performing major IT investments acquisitions must complete an alternatives analysis that includes a cloud computing based alternative as part of their budget submissions.
By September 2012 – all IT investments making enhancements to an existing investment must complete an alternatives analysis that includes a cloud computing based alternative as part of their budget submissions.
Of the available three models of cloud only two are applicable to the Department of Defense on account of security:
Cloud Platform as a Service (PaaS).
Provides the consumer the ability to deploy onto the cloud infrastructure consumer-created or acquired applications created using programming languages and tools supported by the provider. The consumer does not manage or control the underlying cloud infrastructure including network, servers, operating systems, or storage, but has control over the deployed applications and possibly application hosting environment configurations.
Cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).
Provides the consumer the ability to provision processing, storage, networks, and other fundamental computing resources where the consumer is able to deploy and run arbitrary software, which can include operating systems and applications. The consumer does not manage or control the underlying cloud infrastructure but has control over operating systems, storage, deployed applications, and possibly limited control of select networking components (e.g., host firewalls).
Cloud computing is far from simple. It embraces a confluence of concepts — virtualization, service-orientation, elasticity, multi-tenancy, and pay-as-you-go — manifesting as a broad range of cloud services, technologies, and approaches in today’s marketplace. The Federal CIO guidance has opened all IT investments as well as operations to a radical examination. Whether the component CIOs can rise to this challenge in the limited time provided remains to be seen.