Since when I started following what the US federal administration is doing around cloud computing (see here), I have been wondering whether there was an intention to come up with something like a government-run cloud infrastructure, which sounds like the more modern version of a centralized government infrastructure.
The first official move from the federal CIO and his colleagues at OMB and GSA has been to define the concept of a cloud computing “storefront” that would be run by the GSA and provide access to public cloud services. In a recent post I stressed that this is just a first move but the real battlefield would be around who would provide private cloud services and how.
A few days ago I have seen the first sign of what could happen on the private cloud services side, with an article suggesting that Nebula, NASA’s cloud computing infrastructure, may be considered to service other federal agencies. My colleague Ben Pring, who was interviewed for the article, said that while this is a sensible idea, there are significant challenges ahead.
I doubt that any single cloud infrastructure owned by any agency will fit the requirements of all agencies. It is quite likely that a number of agencies with significant computing infrastructure (such as DISA, NBC, SSA, IRS) may be able to bring their own virtualization and private cloud programs (if any) to a level where they may provide services to others. But the way to get there may be quite tricky, and so is the role that the federal CIO, OMB and GSA could and should play.
As I said in my above-mentioned post
In any large jurisdiction (countries, large stated and provinces) cloud computing may soon become a battlefield between those agencies who own infrastructure and want to retain it and provide it as a service to others, and those agencies who want just to buy more cheaply and flexibly, and do not care whether those services come from inside or outside government. Organizations like whole-of-government CIO offices, procurement agencies, e-government taskforces and the likes will be stuck in middle of that battlefield
In my humble opinion, the basic question that needs an answer is how the old IT Infrastructure Line of Business will morph into a cloud based infrastructure, and what its sourcing strategy is going to be.