Category Archives: US

Online Demo and Webinars for Parallels Mac Management for Microsoft SCCM

Reserve your seat today for a Parallels Mac Management for Microsoft SCCM demo or 1 hour deep dive held by our Sales Engineer Danny Knox. In a demo, we will give you an encompassing overview about all essential details in 30 minutes and will answer all your questions. In a deep dive session, we will show you […]

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US FedRAMP has turned into a slow lane for government cloud says protest group

Fedramp logoA cloud industry protest group has called on the US government to fix its FedRAMP process for certifying government cloud service providers. The inefficiencies of the system are neutralising any benefits the cloud can bring to the US taxpayer, it claims.

A collective of disgruntled agents, that ranges from top tier cloud operators such as AWS, IBM and HPE to support agencies and corporate lawyers, has appealed for a review of the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program, a certification process that has been dubbed FedRAMP.

Though FedRAMP was designed to simplify the use of cloud services by government agencies, the system has been described by a cloud industry advocate group as ‘fundamentally broken’. An aggrieved group of cloud players calling itself FedRAMP Fast Forward claims that a simple system, for helping US civil servants to select between FedRAMP-certified providers, has become too complicated and unwieldy. The pressure group has proposed a six point plan to address the system’s lack of clarity, high costs and lack of accountability.

The promised ‘certify once, use many times’ framework has not been delivered, claims the pressure group. Instead, the system has become expensive and time-consuming to use. As a result, the planned government savings from using cloud services are unlikely to materialise, says the group.

One of the reported problems is that the system does not provide the level of monitoring and management that cloud service providers would expect from any service. Potential suppliers to a government tender cannot gauge their status in the approval process or get feedback on the how to improve things or move the process to its next stage, according to a group statement. Agencies have also complained that they can’t see where the listed authorised cloud services might operate.

The Cloud Computing Caucus, a cross party group of US Congress Members, claims that the certification process is now nearly three times as lengthy as it first was. Worse, it can be 20 times more expensive. The group’s latest annual report says certification time has gone from nine months to two years, on average, while the typical cost expanded from $250,000 to up to $5 million.

The pressure group has now posted a six point reform plan calling for a single route to authorisation, more transparency over the approval process, harmonised security standards, cheaper monitoring, the option to upgrade without dropping out and a simpler road map for compliance.

FedRAMP Fast Forward members include AWS, HPE, IBM, CGI, General Dynamics and CenturyLink.

Apple to build new cloud infrastructure as Verizon sells off data centres – reports

datacentreTwo US tech giants are heading in opposite directions regarding datacenters, according to a couple of recent reports

Local US news sources report that Apple has filed a permit with Washoe County in Nevada, to build a new cluster of data centre facilities near its original Reno site. The planning application for Apple’s new ‘Project Huckleberry’ involves the construction of the full shell of a new data centre, several data centre clusters and a support building. The new Huckleberry project will have essentially the same design as an earlier installation in Reno, dubbed Project Mills, according to Trevor Lloyd, senior planner for Washoe County Planning and Development’s Community Services.

Apple was first attracted to invest in the area in 2012 when it received an $89 million tax abatement incentive to locate in Reno Technology Park. Apple recently applied for permission to build a new substation to support further development as the existing site is reaching its capacity, according to Lloyd.

Permission for the site, based on past trends, should be granted by the end of January, according to Lloyd. Tax incentives for cloud infrastructure projects could make economic sense for regional development authorities given their long term impact, according to Mike Kazmierski, president of western Nevada’s Economic Development Authority. “When you put tens of hundreds of millions of dollars on a huge data centre project, you’re in it for the long haul,” said Kazmierksi.

Cloud service provider Rackspace is also planning to build a data centre at Reno Technology Park.

The demands that data centres make on the local community are minor in comparison to benefits that a cloud computing infrastructure brings to the community though economic investments – and owners of data centres should use this in negotiations, according to Kazmierski.

Meanwhile, a large stock of cloud infrastructure could come on the market as telco Verizon Communications reportedly began a process to sell its global estate of 48 data centres. According to insiders quoted by Reuters Verizon is aiming to raise over $2.5 billion and streamline its business. Currently the colocation portfolio generates $275 million in EBITDA.

Telcos such as AT&T, CenturyLink and Windstream have also divested themselves of their data centres businesses in recent years.