Tuesday, September 15, 2009

US Federal Government Launches Apps.Gov

Big news on the federal government cloud computing initiative front today with the launch of Apps.Gov. The site outlines several cloud service areas including business Apps, Productivity Apps, Cloud IT Services and Social Media Apps. What I found most interesting was upon first glance the vast majority of the services offered were from salesforce.com and a few from Google. Searches for Microsoft, IBM and Amazon resulted in no results. Also notable is the social media section which includes a few interesting choices including Scribd and SlideShare, yet none the major social media players are included.

As an infrastructure guy, the coming soon section for Cloud IT Services was particularly intriguing outling several cloud related infrastructure services that will be coming in the near future. Those outlined include;

Cloud storage
Get scalable storage of your data on the cloud rather than on your own dedicated servers.

Software development
Software development tools available on the cloud.

Virtual machines
The processing power that you need for your website or application on the cloud.

Web hosting
Hosting of your web applications on the cloud - 24x7.

One question I had was how these cloud computing services are provisioned using Apps.gov. The FAQ sheds a little more light on this saying: "A strategic assessment as to how your agency can benefit by using cloud computing services should be conducted. Browse Apps.gov to view the cloud services that are available. Services will continuously be added to Apps.gov. Business and Productivity applications (various cloud software as a service) and Cloud IT Infrastructure as a Service (cloud storage, hosting, and virtual machines) in most cases are offered as a monthly or even hourly use service. Billing for these services is typically monthly, based upon use, and may require close monitoring of your monthly purchase card spending limits. Since cloud offerings under Business and Productivity Applications as well as Cloud IT Services are products and services currently offered under GSA Multiple Award Schedule contracts, ordering activities are to use the procedures in Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 8.405-1 where a Statement of Work (SOW) is not required. Ordering activities shall use the procedures in Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 8.405-2 when ordering Schedule contract services requiring a Statement of Work."

Notably lacking on the site was how to get your cloud service included in the App Store, let's hope that this App Store will soon be opened up to a broader group, because it currently looks like a Salesforce / Google store.
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