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11/5/2010
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NIST To Develop Cloud Roadmap

The federal government's Strategic Cloud Computing initiative seeks to remove barriers to cloud adoption in security, interoperability, portability and reliability.

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Slideshow: Cloud Security Pros And Cons
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The federal government's standards organization plans to develop a roadmap for cloud computing standards and guidance, National Institute of Standards and Technology officials said Thursday during the first day of a two-day government cloud computing forum.

"Right now, when government CIOs want to go to the cloud, it's kind of a free-for-all, and they have to think of everything themselves," NIST director Patrick Gallagher said in a brief interview. "We want to help provide a structure."

Developing a roadmap, officials said, will help prioritize standards efforts, looking to remove perceived barriers to cloud adoption around security, interoperability, portability and reliability.

The new effort, the NIST Strategic Cloud Computing initiative, is targeted both at vendors and at government, according to NIST. "On the one hand, it's imperative to understand the challenges federal CIOs face. On the other, we have to leverage the enormous technological resources that exist in the cloud provider community," Gallagher said. "I envision this roadmap as a dialogue between these two sides."

NIST's initial plan is to define targeted government cloud computing use cases and determine the priorities, risks and obstacles to making those use cases a reality within government. The agency then will help build a neutral cloud computing reference architecture and taxonomy, and finally create a roadmap. In the end, NIST cloud computing program manager Dawn Leaf said, the effort may lead to standards, guidance, research and development prioritization, prototypes and pilots of reference implementations, and perhaps even new administration policy on cloud computing.

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