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NIST Cloud Computing Conference Covers Cloud’s Global View, Working Group Results

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Kundra and Marcus, seated

The Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is holding the Cloud Computing Forum and Workshop III on April 7-8 at its Gaithersburg, Md., campus.  At this morning's keynote, the theme was “A Global View of Cloud Computing” and it featured a discussion between U.S. Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra and Alan Marcus, the Senior Director, Head of IT and Telecommunications Industries, World Economic Forum USA.

Kundra has called upon NIST to help accelerate the federal government’s adoption of secure cloud computing practices by leading efforts to develop standards and guidelines in collaboration with standards bodies, the private sector, other government agencies and other stakeholders.

Working groups that were formed during the NIST Cloud Computing Forum & Workshop II in November 2010 will provide progress reports on a range of cloud computing issues throughout the meeting.

NIST scientists are demonstrating Koala, a simulator of a cloud service model. They are using modeling and analysis methods developed to study complex systems to understand the behavior of a cloud during both normal and highly stressed operations. A panel on Friday, April 8, “Cloud Innovation: Math and Science,” will explore innovative uses of the cloud and how it can be leveraged in the scientific process.

Learn more about NIST’s cloud computing initiative.

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Evolving Cloud Computing and Comptetition

While cloud computing offers many benefits, it is a new and evolving technology space still in the early stages of acceptance. Holding NIST workshops and other similar events throughout the government to propel cloud computing is imperative to the future innovation and competitiveness in the US. Moreover, stressing the fact that cloud computing is increasingly allowing people to access high performance computing without the immense up-front expense can push the cloud computing appeal to straggling supporters.

Reports have shown that the government alone could save billions of dollars and participating agencies have already saved twenty-five to fifty percent on relevant IT operations such as downsizing file servers, necessary software, and hardware by utilizing cloud computing. Though still evolving, high performance computing resources “in the cloud”, are becoming increasingly available. Now users have the option to “pay-as-you-go” for only the resources they use. Finally, software as a service potentially holds the most benefit for those government officials and organizations new to cloud computing.

Workshops such as the NIST Cloud Computing Conference strengthen intellectual property protection, particularly in emerging markets, and ensure investments in science, technology, and innovation provide maximum long term return to the U.S. If significant improvements in technology, such as cloud computing, continue to be ignored the U.S. will continue to fall behind in the global arena. The US can prevent this by increasing incentives for these IT infrastructure projects within the private sector and encourage more private-public partnerships.