GSA’s 18F Launches Cloud.gov to Provide Infrastructure as a Service to Federal Government

WASHINGTON, D.C. – October 12, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — In an effort to tackle the core infrastructure issues of scalability and security the development team at 18F, the innovative technology unit of the U.S. General Services Administration’s (GSA) Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies (OCSIT), has developed cloud.gov, a tool to help even the smallest projects get to production quickly and easily.

Multiple cloud vendors have taken over the business of building data centers, procuring hardware, and managing networking, and turned that infrastructure into something that agencies can buy rather than building and managing on their own. This Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) allows teams to work more effectively and focus their time on problems that are unique to the organization.

Even with IaaS available, infrastructure experts are needed in order to best manage, configure, and secure these IaaS resources. Those experts ensure security-hardened operating system versions are in use, and that vulnerability scans and software updates are happening regularly. They understand how web traffic gets routed and balanced to deal with surges of traffic. The government domain further requires them to have compliance expertise in order to ensure the service being delivered satisfies a regulatory framework, and then generate a mountain of documentation to prove it to other people.

Cloud.gov allows 18F to reduce the need for highly-skilled infrastructure resources to be on every team, enabling people with broad and shallow development expertise to accomplish things that would normally require specialized experts.

In addition, 18F documented their knowledge and expertise and is sharing it as a “Platform-as-a-Service” (PaaS) which can be used directly by developers, and bridges the gap between small service teams and advanced infrastructure skillsets, while keeping headcount to a minimum, saving thousands of dollars. Cloud.gov is that PaaS.

Creating cloud.gov has had a tremendous effect for 18F by allowing the infrastructure team to provide spot support and consultancy when needed, then use what was learned to increase cloud.gov’s capabilities. Meanwhile, the development teams can incorporate advanced operational capabilities without focusing a big portion of their efforts on them. This results in a feedback loop where the infrastructure team improves cloud.gov based on user-centered need, one of the main tenets of 18F’s mission. Giving teams more time to work on their project and less time worrying about the backend systems allows 18F to keep teams small, and launch projects more frequently.

“Developing and providing services like cloud.gov is another example of how GSA and 18F are proactively making the work our federal partners do faster and easier,” said Denise Turner Roth, GSA Administrator.

18F is currently exploring how cloud.gov could meet the needs of other departments and agencies in the federal government who could make use of it directly.

For more information on cloud.gov, contact .

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