NIH announces cloud computing effort is open

The use of cloud computing efforts is among the components of a $20 billion acquisition program that the National Institutes of Health has unveiled, according to a published report.

A decade-long program, the Chief Information Officer-Commodity Solutions contract falls in line with other organizations and companies that are increasingly driving toward use of the innovative method for storage purposes, Enterprise Tech reports.

The NIH intends to award several contracts as part of the effort to endow government services that center on health and life sciences with IT capabilities.

The move comes as agencies of the federal government are increasingly pushing toward merging their data centers as part of a Cloud First Initiative in order to deploy management over IT services. The drive of the NIH coincides with the sector’s migration toward providing managed services for infrastructure, platform and software, all on an as-a-service basis.

The move also represents the federal government’s efforts to catch up with the private sector’s use of innovative technological methods, such as cloud computing. The NIH was cited as the lead of the contract due to the mushrooming importance of cloud computing to the healthcare sector. Research in the clinical and biological sectors also is a key factor that prompted the efforts.

Bidders must comply with cloud security standards as outlined in federal guidelines, known as the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program. That program is more colloquially known as FedRAMP.

The contract states federal agencies may use one of two models for their cloud computing needs – either on-premises or managed services. Services provided by the IT sector may be implemented within a public cloud or among managed services such as IaaS, PaaS or SaaS offerings.

IT Web reports a recent study conducted by Markets and Markets forecast the market for cloud computing in the healthcare industry will be valued at as much as $5.4 billion within three years.