Nearly a dozen teams of technology vendors have been approved to provide IT infrastructure as a service to government agencies through Apps.gov, the General Services Administration's cloud computing portal. The new blanket service agreement makes it possible for federal, state and local government agencies to order on-demand virtual servers, cloud storage and web hosting as needed from GSA-approved service providers. Cloud vendors must satisfy FISMA's "moderate impact" data security level to par
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Defense contractor General Dynamics is partnering with Carpathia Hosting to provide cloud services through Apps.gov. The pairing combines an established industry veteran (General Dynamics Information Technology has been in business for 50 years and employs 17,000) with a newer, smaller company (Carpathia was founded in 2003). Carpathia operates 12 data centers worldwide, including three in Virginia. The company refers to its highly secure data center in Dulles, Va., as The Vault.
The federal government's standards organization plans to develop a roadmap for cloud computing standards and guidance. Developing a roadmap, National Institute of Standards and Technology officials said, will help prioritize standards efforts, looking to remove perceived barriers to cloud adoption around security, interoperability, portability and reliability. 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, 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.