Today the US Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board announced that their web site Recovery.gov went live on Amazon EC2 (see also here for coverage by O’Reilly Radar and here for the White House blog). According to the announcement, this is the first government-wide system to go to the cloud, although I thought that the move of USA.gov to Terremark and of USASpending.gov to NASA Nebula were earlier examples.
Besides the expected savings, which are quantified in 750,000 USD, the interesting aspect of this announcement is that it shows how government can use the public cloud. In fact there is too much discussion about the need for a private cloud (or government cloud or community cloud) for government agencies to leverage this computing model. On the other hand, I’ve always told clients that there is a lot that can be done with web sites and other non-sensitive data and applications: Recovery.gov is a great example because it is a high profile, enterprise-wide initiative.
I am looking forward to more examples where agencies in all tiers of government start using existing cloud-based infrastructure and software rather than just waiting for government clouds to emerge.
However, just as an interesting coincidence, look here at how Amazon Web Services experienced some problems lately.