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September 15, 2011

NIST Draws Federal Roadmap

Nicole Hemsoth

The National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) this week released new standards for the federal government of the United States as it moves forward with its ambitions to move to the cloud.

The organization put forth a series of technology standards and produced a cloud roadmap and reference architecture in an effort to keep the U.S. government on track with its plans to adopt cloud computing and consolidate data centers.

These new standards and guides will provide a map for agencies as they look to deploy clouds, helping them to understand the standards they should make decisions against. The documents also provide categorized cloud services that can be used for reference.

As Information Week reported, “The inventory covers standards for key features of deploying a cloud computing architecture, such as security, portability, and interoperability. It also identifies models and use cases that are relevant to cloud computing and identifies standardization priorities for the feds in the areas of security auditing and compliance, and identity and access management, according to NIST.”

In addition to providing a roadmap, the full report provides an excellent overview of the major players, challenges, benefits and technologies that make up the cloud ecosystem. For those outside of government the business, technical and general deployment use cases are particularly useful, especially when matched against the standards lifecycle.

NIST says that its long-term goal is to “provide leadership and guidance around the cloud computing paradigm to catalyze its use within industry and government. NIST aims to shorten the adoption cycle, which will enable near-term cost savings and increased ability to quickly create and deploy safe and secure enterprise solutions.”

Main focal points for NIST have been defining clouds in general, fostering best practices that support interoperability, portability, and security. The organization has been instrumental in laying the standards and more general definition framework for cloud computing.

Full story at NIST