Thursday, January 02, 2014

Duplication and the USDA Cloud

From FCW on the USDA cloud:
In 1962 — in the early days of mainframe computing, punched cards and tape — then-Secretary Orville Lothrop Freeman wrote a memo warning that USDA was headed down a path of duplicative spending on IT programs.
The memo was unearthed earlier this year by someone in USDA’s National IT Center (NITC) around the time the group was pushing for certification for its private cloud under the government’s Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP). In June, USDA’s cloud offering became just the sixth infrastructure as a service to receive provisional certification under those federal security standards. It joined private-sector giants such as Amazon, Hewlett-Packard, CGI Federal, Autonomic Resources and Lockheed Martin.
Not sure what significance the USDA cloud has, it certainly won't produce rain for drought-ridden areas, but I enjoyed the reference to Freeman.  Used to be ASCS had computer centers in New Orleans, Minneapolis, and Kansas City but towards the end of Freeman's tour they got transferred over to the Department.  Minneapolis was shut down, along with a satellite center in Portland, if memory serves.  Over the years the other agencies in USDA also had some reorgs, but I notice that we still have centers in St. Louis (which I think is the old FmHA center) and Kansas City.  I suspect that means that the integration of agency operations into a seamless web where historic divisions are not obvious to the user is not happening.  C'est la vie.

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