SBA looking at cloud options

Friday - 3/19/2010, 2:00am EDT

Robert Naylor, SBA CIO

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The chief information officer at the Small Business Administration recently talked about how he’s been using lessons learned from the 2008 presidential election at his new job.

(You can hear that whole interview on Federal News Radio’s Ask the CIO program.)

Now, Robert Naylor tells the Fed Cloud Blog all about how his agency is moving into the cloud.

FCB: The loan modernization program, like many programs across government, still probably use the mainframe . . . set up years ago. Have you moved it off the mainframe? Are you in the middle of moving it off the mainframe? Is cloud computing coming into play here?

RN: Yes, we are moving it off the mainframe and we are moving it into a standardized database.

I don’t want to get into any particular names, but it is updated technology.

In terms of cloud computing . . . that is definitely a direction that we’re moving [in].

The federal CIO and the CTO both have set that forth as a direction. We agree with it.

We’ve taken a look at infrastructure and said — we are kind of one-deep in technology here in terms of skill set.

If you take a look at your return on your investment, that would a five year refresh rate to buy the equipment outright for what we could do in a private cloud or cloud computing for infrastructure services.

So, our payback is within five years if we were to buy the equipment, versus actually doing a service level agreement with a cloud computing provider. That’s not taking into consideration the skill sets that are required if we were to manage it ourselves.

When you get into redundancy and disaster and so forth, cloud computing allows us to focus our technology on achieving more of the mission of the agency with the technology, as opposed to the infrastructure.

E-mail, blackberry services, and so forth — that’s not something that we need to have skill sets necessarily supporting and maintaining in house when those skill sets could be better used, looking at how we can make more tools available to our lenders and to our borrowers on the Web.