Vivek Kundra was appointed to the position of CIO in March of 2009, and according to Jack Lew, director of the United States office of management and budget, Kundra “brought with him the promise of good ideas and a hard-charging style focused on getting things done, necessary qualities to tackle the difficult issues facing Federal IT”. Kundra has now accepted a post as a joint fellow at Harvard University, but the legacy he has created for the Federal Government’s handling of data will live on.
In the two years that Kundra operated at CIO, he managed to cut IT spending by three billion dollars, largely because of his focus on government cloud adoption and data center consolidation. In February of 2011, he authored the Cloud First policy, which was intended to help the US government “realize the value of cloud computing by requiring agencies to evaluate safe, secure cloud computing options before making any new investments”.
Data center shutdowns have already begun, with 39 of the 2094 centers already taken offline in 2011. By 2015, Kundra’s plan looks to shut down 800 of those 2094, and upgrade all of those that are left to take advantage of cloud computing technology.
This slow drift toward the cloud has opened up a number of opportunities for Web and email hosting providers to secure contracts with the government – for example, the City of San Francisco recently moved its email system to Microsoft Exchange Online.
The hope is that Kundra’s legacy will allow the government to make the most of cloud computing options that become available over the next several years, and do so in way that is both safe for the citizens of the country and is sustainable in the long term.