The current trend in any platform based business is to open an app store which will showcase the products/services of the ecosystem partners. Apple has perfected this art with its app store for iPhone. Android has its own app store. Cloud platform providers like Google and Zoho (disclaimer: Zoho is a sponsor of this blog but this is my independent opinion) have their own market place where individuals and other companies can showcase their applications/services built on these platform. On the cloud infrastructure side, we saw 3Tera come up with their own app store and Rackspace building a storefront for their ecosystem partners. When smaller level cloud players are coming out with their own app stores, it is only natural that the player with a 75 Billion dollar budget, Government, will do the same. Today, in a speech streamed on the web and, also, through a blog post, Vivek Kundra, CIO of US Govt., announced the release of Apps.Gov, the app store from which different government agencies can provision cloud applications and services.
Here at Cloud Ave, we have been covering the cloud computing moves of this administration. The following are some of the posts about the moves by US govt. on the cloud computing front.
- Barack Obama And Cloud Computing
- Obama Team Talks About Putting Government On The Clouds
- More Support For Putting Government On The Clouds
- USA.Gov Moving To Clouds
- Will Government Alter The Cloud SLA Game?
I am no conservative but I also believe in a lean and efficient government. It is my strong belief that Cloud Computing offers a great opportunity to trim down the fat in the government and make it work for the people effectively. Cloud Computing offers the scale and economics needed for the governments and there is no second opinion about it. Whatever be your political belief and whatever be your opinion on
President Obama, I am pretty sure that everyone across the political
spectrum will appreciate the initiatives of this administration in tapping the clouds for the government consumption. In fact, the government is not only turning out to be the biggest consumers of the cloud but they are, in fact, shaping it in such a way that it is open and fair. National Institute of Standards and Technology has drafted a working definition of cloud computing and also offers guidelines to use the Cloud Computing paradigm effectively and securely. Others may not completely agree with me here but I feel that the efforts of NIST is going to go a long way in shaping a cloud ecosystem that is federated and open.
Setting up the cloud infrastructure for government consumption is only work half done. They need to streamline the way it is consumed by many different agencies of government, both big and small. There should be a centralized place where the IT people from different agencies can go and find applications and services that meets the standards set by the government. This is where Apps.Gov plays a role and it has the potential to streamline the cloud consumption and, also, cut wasteful government IT expenditure. In my opinion, this is a good move.
Right now, Apps.gov has listings in the following categories
- Business Apps – Apps for Analytics, CRM, ERP, BI, Data Management, etc.
- Productivity Apps – Apps like Office suites and apps for collaboration, project management, mind mapping, etc.
- Cloud IT Services – Storage, Infrastructure Services, Virtual Machines, etc.
- Social Media Apps – Social Tools like Scribd, Slideshare, Disqus, etc
Right now, only a few vendors are offering services in this marketplace. It is supposed to change in the coming months when they open it up further. According to Rich Miller of Data Center Knowledge, Apps.Gov is hosted on Savvis infrastructure. This is a good start and it will be interesting to see how it shapes up saving money for taxpayers.
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