Cureton: Not Everything is ‘Cloudable’

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NASA CIO Linda Cureton is known for innovation in information technology, but that now expands to the English language as well.

Speaking this morning at FedScoop’s 3rd Annual Lowering the Cost of Government with IT Summit at the Newseum, Cureton joked she created a word – cloudable – to describe applications that are candidates to move to the cloud.

“I was speaking yesterday and as soon as I said that word the earthquake hit,” Cureton said.

So what exactly now does cloudable mean?

“It’s seeing if an application is a good fit for the cloud, because as much buzz as the cloud has gotten its not a silver bullet to fix all our problems,” Cureton said. “There are applications that are great for the cloud and others that need to be on bare metal.”

The key, Cureton said, is for agencies to identify what applications are best suited for the cloud and act accordingly.

She said it tends to be the cashed-strapped programs that are being forced by their budget to go exclusively toward the cloud, but the larger ones with more funds have more options.

“It’s about doing the right thing,” Cureton said. “If you do it the wrong way you’ll end up spending more money and get less performance, not to mention causing problems for your users who will seek out other solutions.”

And those security concerns? We’ll let her explain.

[audio:http://s3.amazonaws.com/fedscoop-media/uploads/2011_08_Cureton.mp3|titles=NASA CIO Linda Cureton: FedScoop 3rd Annual Lowering the Cost of Gov with IT Summit]

Some other cost saving points from Cureton:

  • NASA has consolidated a number of data centers, but instead of tearing down the data center infrastructure kept it in place and then used the floor space for either offices or storage. To combat that, NASA put electric meters on each data center to make sure energy costs were reasonable for what the building was being used for. “If they want it to be an office then it needs to become a real office,” she said.
  • At a previous agency, Cureton said to save costs she would get all of her portfolio managers together and “hang them upside down and have them shake out their pockets” to look for additional funds that could be cut.
  • She would like to see an increase in sharing savings contracts especially in places like virtualization where the agency doesn’t have a deep knowledge of it and can’t afford to consulting needed to implement a program.

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Agencies, Archives, Departments, FedTalks, Linda Cureton, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
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