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Government IT Reaches The Cloud

With the unexpected delivery of, federal CIO Vivek Kundra and the GSA have demonstrated their firm intent to promote increased adoption and accelerated procurement for cloud computing applications., introduced September 15 among government fan fare, looks like a consumer storefront for the procurement of turnkey cloud computing solutions. The e-commerce portal delivers shopping cart functionality and a streamlined click-to-order process for business applications, productivity systems, social media tools and cloud-based IT (information technology) services.

In a wise effort to clearly set expectations, cloud computing chief evangelist Vivek Kundra reminded all that was built on top of the GSA Schedule in order to accelerate the go-live event and comply with federal procurement policy. was developed by GSA CIO Casey Coleman and team. According to Coleman, “is not the final solution .. It is the beginning of the final solution.” To date, no IT services contracts have been fulfilled on, however, software technology and cloud computing vendors were largely caught off guard with the sudden web site introduction and are now scrambling to get their software as a service (SaaS) solutions listed on what is likely to become the most touted cloud computing storefront.

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The first version release of simply puts a new user interface on the decade old GSA Advantage government procurement vehicle. While a good first step, additional steps are needed for this federal storefront to evolve into a one stop government procurement website for commercial applications and services. For instance, including a cloud-based sandbox to permit user trials as well as social media integration to support ratings, commenting and other user generated content would significantly improve the user experience and purchase process.


More than just an e-commerce platform, is a continuation of the administration’s vision in promoting efficiency, effectiveness and transparency. At the September 15 announcement, Kundra commented that, “The President has challenged us to make sure that we are utilizing technology to ensure that we have a transparent and open government” and the newly unveiled website is part of a continuation to that agenda. Nonetheless, while an admirable vision, unless Kundra and his colleagues can address a over weighted procurement process and the glacial pace of government IT procurement, will achieve little more than web site window dressing and ultimately lose its fan fare. The delivery of an impressive innovation must now be followed with procurement reform which aligns procurement policy with the opportunities available from cloud computing in a way that promotes the administration’s agenda and the peoples' business.

Posted in IT Solutions
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By Theressa Coleman
Do you know the criteria for software products to be listed on

I believe the two criteria include being listed on the GSA Schedule and being a cloud computing solution. While being on the GSA Schedule is straight forward, I suspect we will incur ambiguity with regard to what defines a cloud computing solution. I am hopeful GSA will apply the NIST definition of cloud computing, which effectively outlines five necessary characteristics.

  1. On-demand self-service. Cloud consumers can procure and provision, as well as dial up and dial down, their infrastructure and services without IT involvement.
  2. Network access. Cloud services are accessed with ubiquitous browsers from desktop computers, mobile phones or laptop PCs.
  3. Resource pooling. Cloud and SaaS (Software as a Service) solutions leverage a shared services computing model. Physical and virtual computing resources are assigned and reassigned based on demand.
  4. Scalability & elasticity. The IT services appear virtually unlimited to the consumer and can be rapidly changed or scaled, in some cases automatically, based on demand.
  5. Managed services. Cloud systems control and optimize the use of computing resources through automated load balancing, resource allocation and meter tools.


By anonymous
This does not look any different than GSA.

Admittedly, at this early stage simply isolates cloud computing services in a new and much needed user presentation. However, I think it is important to recognize that the initial release is only step one one the administration's cloud computing journey. GSA has forecast that the initial release will grow to include cloud computing services such as computer processing cycles and online storage that are not available through GSA Advantage.


By Daniel C.
Is this site limited to government consumers?

Although the website is publicly available, the storefront only accepts government-issued purchase cards.

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