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Tech Execs, Feds To Convene On Cloud Computing

Vivek Kundra, Aneesh Chopra and other government officials will meet with members of the Business Software Alliance in an effort to optimize federal cloud deployments.
Slideshow: Amazon's Case For Enterprise Cloud Computing
Slideshow: Amazon's Case For Enterprise Cloud Computing
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Top technology executives will convene in Washington this week in meetings with top government officials to discuss better ways of deploying the cloud across federal agencies.

At the Business Software Alliance's (BSA's) sixth annual CTO Forum Monday, top decision makers in both the public and private sector -- including U.S. CTO Aneesh Chopra and CIO Vivek Kundra -- are expected to discuss how federal agencies can make the best use of cloud computing to cut costs, address security concerns and improve public-sector performance.

Chief technologists from companies such as Microsoft, IBM, Dell, Adobe and Sybase also will meet with members of Congress to discuss legislation to promote innovation and security in the cloud.

Vendors that comprise the BSA have three major issues they plan to discuss with federal officials -- an unbiased procurement policy for cloud computing solutions; a collaborative standard-setting process for making decisions on cloud technology; and the privacy and security of federal data in the cloud, said BSA CEO Robert Holleyman.

Cybersecurity legislation in particular also is a key concern for the private sector when it comes to deploying government data in the cloud, he said. The Obama administration is the first to announce a cybersecurity policy for the federal government, though Congress has been slow to pass comprehensive cybersecurity legislation. "Cybersecurity legislation … is both part of what impacts the cloud and certainly that has implications that go beyond the pure federal cloud-computing usage," Holleyman said.

The federal government is in the early stages of deploying cloud computing, although the technology is a priority for an administration that's focused on cutting costs and creating more efficiency in its IT operations across all agencies.

In its first major cross-agency cloud-computing move, the administration recently moved to Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud infrastructure-as-a-service platform,. The website lets people track how the government is spending last year's $787 million economic stimulus package.

Another prominent federal use of the cloud is within NASA, which created a cloud-compute infrastructure called Nebula that the agency uses in house in lieu of on-premise resources.

Holleyman said that the Obama administration is a "receptive audience" for the private sector's ideas for implementing cloud computing, and BSA members in turn are looking for the best ways to be "responsive to the needs of this very large customer."

"We do think this is a critical time and this is a sharing of ideas, best practices and understanding the federal government needs," he said.