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GSA Moving USA.gov, Data.gov To Public Cloud

Jan 25, 2012 (10:01 AM EST)

Read the Original Article at http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=232500473


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The General Services Administration (GSA) has awarded CGI Group a $20.76 million contract to move some of its websites, including USA.gov and Data.gov, to a public cloud infrastructure.

The agency's Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies is overseeing the five-year contract, which was awarded as part of the GSA's Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offerings, introduced last July to enable agencies to choose from a menu of cloud computing services via the GSA's Apps.gov website. CGI is one of a handful of initial contractors to be certified to offer the services.

Under the contract, CGI will host and manage a public cloud for Data.gov, the government's open-data repository, and USA.gov, the feds' flagship website that has two million unique visitors each month, according to the GSA.

Specifically, CGI will provide a public cloud infrastructure hosting the sites, as well as provide end-to-end services to transition, operate, maintain, enhance, and secure the cloud environment.

The GSA has been one of the federal government's early adopters of cloud computing e-mail to the cloud as part of an overall and ongoing move to hosted and shared services to cut costs and create operational efficiencies, among other benefits.

[Cloud computing could play a key role in the Energy Department's Magellan project. Read more at Federal Researchers Push Limits Of Cloud Computing.]

Other agencies also have moved public websites to the cloud, including the Department of Treasury, which a year ago migrated a revamped agency website and four other existing sites to Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2).

Moving sites to the cloud and out of federal data centers also could help mitigate performance problems federal websites have suffered recently, problems usually associated with in-house systems.

One prime example came in October, when a relaunch of the USAJobs.gov website--a project that enhanced and moved a previously hosted site back into a federal data center--caused problems that lasted for weeks, making the site and many of its services inaccessible.

A Congressional committee convened to discuss the incident and historical problems managing IT projects pointed fingers at the Office of Personnel and Management, which oversees the site.

The site of the federal CIO Council also has suffered two outages recently, one in November and one earlier this month. The second outage was attributed to site maintenance that is being done to prevent such occurrences in the future.

How 10 federal agencies are tapping the power of cloud computing--without compromising security. Also in the new, all-digital InformationWeek Government supplement: To judge the success of the OMB's IT reform efforts, we need concrete numbers on cost savings and returns. Download our Cloud In Action issue of InformationWeek Government now. (Free registration required.)