December 01, 2010, 7:08 AM — Science fiction author and futurist William Gibson once said "The future is already here - it's just not evenly distributed." The same could be said about government cloud-based IT solutions.
While others have been debating the future of cloud systems in the public sector, a few organizations have been out in front, building and offering their own cloud solutions. Here's a brief list of notable government cloud-based services. As the list below shows, the Defense Information systems Agency (DISA) and the General Services Administration (GSA) are leading providers. But other agencies also are setting themselves up as key players. Please feel free to add more resources to this list, but please, let's focus only on those with a government connection - especially those with a .gov, .mil or .us address.
* DISA's Forge.mil and its associated set of application development and application life cycle management tools. The site provides a group of services specifically for the DoD's IT development community. The set of solutions support collaborative development and use of open source software and also applications and solutions developed within the DoD community. Most resources on forge.mil are available only to U.S. military, DoD civilian employees and DoD contractors. A group of 10 users can set up a work area on Forge.mil starting at roughly $15,000 per year.
* DISA's RACE platform. The "Rapid Access computing platform" is offered by the Computing Services Directorate within the Defense Information Systems Agency. The goal of the RACE program is to allow participants to specify, order, customize and have their computing platform up and running in 24 hours or less. The environments are secure, and can be ordered using a credit card. Systems can be set up to meet a variety of federal and military standards. Solutions are available for Linux and Windows.
* DISA's Global Information Grid (GIG) Content Delivery Service (GCDS). Many people think of cloud solutions as sets of hosted applications. But many other types of services also can be hosted in a cloud. With that in mind, the GCDS offers a service that accelerates delivery and improves the consistency and trustworthiness of web applications. It's deployed across the Defense Information systems Network, (NIPRnet & SIPRnet). DISA also offers a variety of hosted Web platforms, approved databases and back-end systems that can be ramped up quickly.