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5/9/2012
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DOE Hybrid Cloud May Be Model For Future

Department of Energy and National Nuclear Security Administration develop secure cloud that will be available to other departments and potentially other federal agencies.

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The Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration are creating a cloud computing environment that could be a model for other federal agencies.

Working together, the DOE and NNSA are combining a private cloud and commercial cloud services to create a secure, hybrid cloud that will be available to other DOE departments, and potentially to other federal agencies. Just last week, Federal CIO Steven VanRoekel released a shared IT services strategy that directs agencies to adopt services that are available "for consumption by multiple organizations within or between federal agencies."

The cloud project was described by Energy CTO Pete Tseronis, along with two IT executives of NNSA--CTO Travis Howerton, and management and operations CTO Anil Karmel--at InformationWeek's Government IT Leadership Forum on May 3 in Washington, D.C. NNSA, which is responsible for the security of the U.S. military's nuclear weapons stockpile, operates within the DOE.

[ Read Federal Researchers Push Limits Of Cloud Computing. ]

An integrated project team with representatives from DOE and NNSA is developing the hybrid, community cloud, which builds on an infrastructure-as-a-service environment deployed at Los Alamos National Laboratory. "We will broker services, layer services on top of the infrastructure," said Howerton.

The new cloud environment is scheduled to be available by September. Key technologies include a cloud services broker developed by NNSA and access controls and identity management for security. "If it's good for [a] nuclear weapons complex, it's likely good enough for everyone to use," said Howerton.

Other elements of the project include smart metering, operational and cybersecurity dashboards, and other tools that "foundationally change how we work and how we deliver services," Howerton added.

Algorithms will let users determine the costs of cloud services in advance of using them, according to Karmel. The plan calls for virtual servers to be available within 30 minutes of requesting them.

Cloud computing is part of a broader DOE strategy that includes using virtualization and mobility to support an agile, efficient workplace. Tseronis said it's essential that agencies establish policies that take into account new technologies and ways of working. "With the right policies in place, any agency can manage risks and empower users," he said.

In our InformationWeek Government virtual event, Next Steps In Cybersecurity, experts will assess the state of cybersecurity in government and present strategies for creating a more secure IT infrastructure. It happens May 24.

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