I had the opportunity to attend the Amazon Web Services Gov Cloud Summit II on Oct. 18 in Washington, DC, which featured the new Amazon Federal and Gov Cloud (US) offering for architects, solution developers, and executives. The summit also featured senior federal agency IT executives talking about their use of those services.

The take-away line for me was: “Provisioning Instead of Procurement.”

The former means “the process of preparing and equipping a network to allow it to provide (new) services to its users” (Wikipedia) while the latter means “the acquisition of goods and/or services” (Wikipedia), and the times associated with each are minutes and weeks or months, respectively.

My personal experience confirms this with Amazon Web Services, where two different instances of the Windows Server Operating System were provisioned essentially immediately on the Web (using a credit card) so that two different licensed softwares could be run by the author without having to procure and install two physical servers and their softwares.

Casey Coleman, GSA CIO and a leader in the Federal Cloud Computing Initiative, spoke on “theory-to-practice-to-success” with GSA being the first federal agency to move to the cloud with email and collaboration with the complete Google App Suite enabled for mobility which will save the agency about 50% of its IT costs over the next 5 years.

I asked Casey about the status of Platform-as-a-Service, since it is what Aneesh Chopra, assistant to the President and chief technology officer at Executive Office of the President, wants for Gov 2.0, and what I think it the key to real success, and she said that would take a few more years.

Next Werner Vogels, Amazon CTO, spoke of the state of the cloud, (see his slide presentation here) and how this has required that Amazon develop unique technologies to meet customer needs to “reduce time to market for a competitive edge.” and that they now have over 100,000 customers in over 190 countries – not just a book shelf company anymore!

He described what the services provide as “not having to do the muck” (of traditional IT) that has given rise to a new term: “stealth cloud” in which business units are coming directly to do their own IT and turning “infrastructure from obstacle to asset.”

Finally, he said the “data analytics” is big now because they have “launched simple and humble services” and ask their customers how they can help them grow and they have replied with asking for help in crunching large databases on their business activities.

Werner was followed by CJ Moses, Amazon’s Deputy chief information security officer, who explained (see his slides here) how they meet the new Federal Security requirements for Cloud Computing Resources.

Finally, Gus Hunt, CTO, CIA, Shawn Kingsberry, CIO, Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, Don Preuss, Head-Systems, National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Biotechnology Information, Tim Stitely, Director of Administrative Operations, at Health and Human Services-PSC, Khawaja Shams, Sr. Solutions Architect, NASA JPL, and Todd Myers, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Chief Technology Adviser, NSG Expeditionary Architecture, gave excellent presentations on how they were using the Amazon Cloud Services in their organizations for successful cloud implementations.

The author has compiled the agenda, presentations and notes in his social knowledgebase.

I challenge readers to make cloud computing real at the personal level by trying these new Amazon Cloud Services in their individual and team work to see how they save time and money for the government.