Advanced Computing in the Age of AI|Saturday, June 6, 2020
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Oracle Gains U.S. FedRAMP Cloud Approval 

Oracle's managed cloud services have received the U.S. government's seal of approval.

The software giant said this week it has been approved under a federal IT program to deliver a new type of secure managed cloud service to government customers as part of "Federal Cloud First" initiatives. That effort is part of a government-wide IT initiative called Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program, or FedRAMP.

Oracle said it received provisional authority to provide its Managed Cloud Services under the FedRAMP program. The authority was granted following a review by the Defense Department, the Department of Homeland Security, and the General Services Administration.

Oracle said the approval makes it the first private-cloud service provider certified under FedRAMP to offer federal customers a platform-as-a-service offering using in a hybrid cloud environment. The PaaS offering encompasses both private and community clouds.

The company said it would offer government customers its Managed Cloud Services under a "single-tenant model." That would allow federal agencies to quickly transition to a managed private government cloud.

Government agencies like the DoD that handle large amounts of sensitive and classified data have struggled to come up with a cloud computing and storage strategy that provides different levels of access. However, agencies like the CIA have moved aggressively to shift to cloud services provided by commercial vendors like Amazon Web Services, which is essentially building the CIA its own implementation of the AWS public cloud.

With its FedRAMP approval, Oracle also is poised to become a major provider of federal cloud services. Company officials stressed that need to protect sensitive data stored in U.S. government networks.

FedRAMP provisional authorization marks "a critical milestone in Oracle’s efforts to implement and deploy secure private-cloud environments to our U.S. government customers and partners," Rick Cirigliano, vice president of public sector for Oracle Managed Cloud Services, said in a statement. "This provisional authorization adds a great deal of leverage to agencies in their efforts to comply with Federal Cloud First and Shared First initiatives."

The company added that it would provide infrastructure and platform hardware and software along with Oracle and third-party applications. Managed services include applications such as enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management, and human capital management software.

Other large cloud services providers have also received FedRAMP approval in recent months. Amazon Web Services said in April it has been approved under the program to provide cloud services for the U.S. Army and Navy along with other DoD agencies. AWS joined a growing list of cloud vendors to the military that includes Akamai, AT&T, CGI Federal, Hewlett-Packard, Lockheed Martin and Microsoft.

The military is still trying to figure out how to partition and route intelligence and other sensitive data stored in the cloud from its sprawling datacenters and other enterprise activities. The DoD is nevertheless expected to invest heavily in cloud services as it embraces commercial network technologies.

FedRAMP is a government-wide IT initiative design to forge a standard approach to network security and monitoring of cloud products and services.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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