The General Services Administration (GSA) pedestalled the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for its successful cloud migration in a June 18 blog post.

To date, NOAA has moved over 40 datasets to the cloud with the help of five commercial cloud service providers (CSPs). By acquiring enterprise-level cloud solutions through multiple CSPs, GSA said that the NOAA Cloud Initiative has diversified the agency’s technical capabilities and avoided being locked in to one provider.

Working with these providers has yielded benefits for NOAA. The April 2019 NOAA Business Brief said that NOAA’s collaboration with CSPs has allowed the agency “to see how their services can facilitate full and open data access to the taxpayer and to foster innovation by leveraging new automation tools to make data more readily accessible.” The brief also said that NOAA should further investment in cloud to see further improvements in performance and cybersecurity.

GSA also applauded NOAA’s use of Statement of Objectives documents rather than Statements of Work (SOWs) to highlight its cloud goals, which shifts responsibility for preparing the SOW from the government to the companies that respond to the solicitation.

“For example, NOAA wants their CSP ‘to provide cloud storage services that will provide persistent storage, backup service, long-term storage, continuity of operations (COOP), and disaster recovery services,’” GSA explained.

Furthermore, the NOAA Cloud Initiative also specifies desired contract types, which GSA said saves time and avoids confusion for prospective vendors, who will more easily understand the right pricing model to propose.

Behind NOAA’s Cloud Initiative strategy is the Federal Cloud Smart strategy, which “focuses on equipping agencies with the tools needed to make informative technology decisions in accordance with their mission needs, and leverages private sector solutions.” Cloud Smart provides guidance on security, procurement, and workforce components of cloud migration and IT modernization.

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