NOAA continues cloud pilots

Tuesday - 6/28/2011, 9:08am EDT

Joe Klimavicz, Information Officer & Director, High Performance Computing and Communications, NOAA

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By Suzanne Kubota
Senior Internet Editor
FederalNewsRadio.com

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is moving its email to Google's cloud. NOAA's shifting e-mail for 25,000 users and modernizing its calendar infrastructure. The move will also synchronize NOAA's messaging technology with mobile devices.

Joe Klimavicz, Information Officer and Director of High Performance Computing and Communications at NOAA, told the Federal Drive there are big savings to be found on the cloud, even if your agency isn't the largest to go Google.

Klimavicz told the Federal Drive "we think it's definitely worth it," to have paid $11.5 million for the deal that handles calendaring and email from 19 different current systems, training, transition, and mobile device support. Klimavicz said NOAA did a cost estimate and found that to provide the same services themselves would be twice as much.

Of the 25,000 users, Klimavicz said five hundred employees are using Google Apps in the cloud "and then we're piling in other cloud initiatives as well. I think it's a great first step and that way you can learn about the capabilities and gain some experience before you make a wholesale shift."

After consulting with GSA about their move to cloud computing, NOAA started running pilots. Klimavicz said, if asked, that's exactly what he would advise other agencies to do too.

"I would take advantage of all the work that others have done, certainly within the federal space. And then I would actually recommend piloting the capability because one of the advantages of the cloud is it's very easy to deploy very fast: the capability must be there from the get-go. So you're not looking for a development effort, you're looking for just using the cloud capability, so I think a pilot is very easy and most companies I've talked to are more than agreeable" to let agencies test out capabilities, he said.

Functionally, said Klimavicz, there's been no noticable difference in capabilities. The Google Apps for Government, he said, "includes specific measures to address policy and security needs of the public sector,"including terms and conditions that ensure the data stays in the continental U.S. "This is exclusive for government customers," he noted.

Assuming all goes as planned, Klimavicz said NOAA is "looking at a substantial pilot user migration in August, early adopters in October, and then full migration-full deployment in December."

After that, he assured the Federal Drive this is the start of something much bigger. "It's not going to stop with this."