Cloud computing should be the default home for any new governmentwide tracking system for federal spending, the chief of the independent stimulus spending oversight board told lawmakers Tuesday morning.
Migrating its website Recovery.gov to cloud-based storage in April 2010 allowed the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board to operate more efficiently and to save a significant amount taxpayer money by not paying for unnecessary storage, the board's chairman Earl Devaney told members of the House Oversight Committee.
Cloud storage is essentially a mass of computer servers that customers buy space on -- paying only for the computer space they actually use, as with a utility. Recovery.gov is hosted on a public cloud owned by Amazon that is also open to the private sector. But companies, including Microsoft, have stood up government-only clouds.
"It allows you to be more flexible," Devaney said of cloud computing," to expand almost like an accordion. If you need to do more, you can do [it] quickly and you don't have to go out and buy more space and hire more people. It's a technology whose time has come."
House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., introduced legislation Monday to pull all federal spending reports onto a single website overseen by a single independent oversight board, following the recovery board model. Vice President Biden announced an executive order to do much the same thing just hours later.
Issa stressed during Monday's hearing that he doesn't believe his vision is significantly different from the White House's and that he plans to cooperate with the White House on the project, not compete.
This post was corrected to reflect the fact that the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board is an independent body. The original version referred to it as a White House oversight board.