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Feds embrace cloud computing; move Recovery.gov to Amazon EC2

Feds embrace cloud computing; move Recovery.gov to Amazon EC2

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The U.S. government takes a plunge into the cloud, pushing Recovery.gov into a full cloud computing infrastructure

The U.S. government has taken a giant leap into the cloud. a move that it hopes will increase efficiency, improve security and, most importantly, save money.

Recovery.gov, the government website where Americans have access to data related to Recovery Act spending has officially moved to a cloud computing infrastructure. The switch went live at 9:48 p.m. on April 26, using Amazon's EC2 service, according to the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, which oversees Recovery.gov (Statement)

The immediate cost savings will be more than $330,000 in fiscal year 2010 and $420,000 in fiscal year. But there will also be other savings too, the agency said, noting that there is no longer a concern about or expense of an underlying data center or computer equipment.

In a statement, board chairman Earl E. Devaney said:

Cloud computing strikes me as a perfect tool to help achieve greater transparency and accountability. Moving to the cloud allows us to provide better service at lower costs. I hope this development will inspire other government entities to accelerate their own efforts. The American taxpayers would be the winners.

Last September, the federal government hosted an event in Silicon Valley to announce the creation of Apps.gov, a cloud computing marketplace for government agencies that’s designed to reduce red-tape and allow faster deployment of money-saving, energy-efficient cloud-based software.

Since then, there hasn't been a lot of movement in Washington to move to the cloud - but this changes everything. Clearly, there are some parts of government operations that don't belong on a cloud platform. But something like Recovery.gov is a good example of places where government can trim the fat and operate more efficiently.

Previous coverage: Washington finally embraces tech; the benefits will be here soon

Originally posted at ZDNet's Between the Lines.

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Sam Diaz

Sam Diaz is a senior editor at ZDNet. He has been a technology and business blogger, reporter and editor at the Washington Post, San Jose Mercury News and Fresno Bee for more than 18 years. He's a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and a graduate of California State University, Fresno.