The Obama administration on Sept. 15 announced a far-reaching and long-term cloud computing policy intended to cut costs on infrastructure and reduce the environmental impact of government computing systems, CNET reports. According to federal CIO Vivek Kundra, the federal government has an IT budget of $76 billion, of which more than $19 billion is spent on infrastructure alone. And within that system, he said, the government "has been building data center after data center," resulting in an environment in which the Department of Homeland Security alone, for example, has 23 data centers. All told, this has resulted in a doubling of federal energy consumption from 2000 to 2006. "We cannot continue on this trajectory," Kundra said. That’s why the administration is now committed to a policy of reducing infrastructure spending and instead relying on existing systems, at least as much as is possible, given security considerations, Kundra said. As an example of what’s possible with cloud computing, Kundra pointed to a revamping of the General Services Administration’s USA.gov site. Using a traditional approach to add scalability and flexibility, he said, it would have taken six months and cost the government $2.5 million a year. But by turning to a cloud-computing approach, the upgrade took just a day and cost only $800,000 a year…

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