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Congress urged to leave cloud computing alone

Patrick Thibodeau | April 12, 2011
WASHINGTON -- When the city of Los Angeles migrated to Google Apps last year, city officials insisted that the deal include a requirement that its data remain in the U.S.

But the White House might see the need for international agreements.

At a separate forum on cloud computing held by the National Institute of Standards and Technology last week, the U.S. government's CIO, Vivek Kundra, said that as data moves across networks from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, the U.S. and other countries have to think about "data sovereignty" issues. "We have to think about governance models," he said.

Burton would like to see the U.S. send a strong signal that it will "pledge to work cooperatively to overcome the policy barriers that sort of Balkanize data flows." Such a policy statement "would create a lot of confidence in the cloud," he said.

David Valdez, vice president of public affairs for the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), said a lot of concerns about cloud computing can be handled with education and through the service level agreements between vendors and their customers.

"There is not a need for new laws and regulations," said Valdez.

What U.S. companies do control, right now, is a cloud computing market that is growing by leaps and bounds.

"If you are a startup company right now in Silicon Valley, the venture capitalist will demand that you run your business on the cloud," said John Calhoun, managing partner of OnPoint Consulting, who was on the panel at the Congressional Internet Caucus panel.

Calhoun's confidence in the cloud finds some support in a Gartner growth projection for the market for cloud-based IT infrastructure, where users acquire server, storage, networking and other computing services from third-party providers.

The research firm expects the worldwide market for cloud-based IT infrastructure services to increase from $3.7 billion in 2011 to $10.5 billion in 2014.


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