OMB announces ‘cloud first’ policy for agencies

Big news this week on the cloud computing front. Agencies are being required by the Office of Management and Budget to adopt a “cloud-first” policy as part of the 2012 budget process.

Jeff Zients, chief performance officer and deputy director for management at OMB, made the announcement during a speech at the Northern Virginia Technology Council in Vienna, Va.

“What this means is that going forward, when evaluating options for new IT deployments, OMB will require that agencies default to cloud-based solutions whenever a secure, reliable, cost-effective cloud option exists,” Zients said.

Zients also said OMB will help agencies with this by setting up secure, governmentwide cloud computing platforms.

“These platforms will allow agencies to easily adopt cloud solutions for systems, such as infrastructure, email, and productivity suites.”

The move is part of the administration’s overall goals to improve the way government manages information technology. This includes the administration’s efforts to consolidate its data centers.

Zients said OMB wants to reduce the number of data centers by at least 40 percent by 2015.

“By March, we will announce firm targets and agency implementation plans for our data center consolidation initiative, a terrain ripe for shared services and common solutions.”

Federal chief information officer Vivek Kundra will hold an open meeting on Dec. 9 to discuss the execution plans that address these changes. Additional details are to be announced by OMB by Dec. 14.

Listen to Zients’ full speech by clicking the link above. The news about cloud computing comes about 30 minutes into the speech.

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