National Science Foundation Emphasizes Cloud Computing Security and Efficiency

Mark Drapeau (Washington, DC) —

As reported by Camille Tuutti at Federal Computer Week, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has plans to invest resources into understanding various aspects of cloud computing, in particular how to make it more energy efficient, and how to make it more secure from hackers and other kinds of digital intrusion. These topics are part of a larger NSF report to Congress named “Support for Cloud Computing.”

Tuutti writes,

In addition to exploring different design paradigms for data center networks and delving into enhanced network support for clouds, researchers are exploring “green” clouds and developing ways to boost the energy efficiency of data centers. One project aims to cut down on data center energy use by creating simple “load-oblivious” policies that automatically scale data center resources to reduce power consumption.

Another project takes aim at cloud security, examining the defense architectures for cloud providers to detect and fend off threats. In addition to traditional malicious activity, today’s cloud providers also need to keep their users safe from each other: If one client suffers a malware attack, others should remain uncompromised, the report stated.

For its part, Microsoft is investing tremendous resources into building energy-efficient data centers to host cloud solutions, and into research and development in order to drive cloud technology further than ever. Recognizing that data in many forms is one of government’s most prized assets, Microsoft has invested more than $2 billion in new data centers which meet or exceed U.S. federal government and international security body standards. Microsoft data centers are designed to reduce total energy consumption by 25–40 percent compared to traditional facilities.

Dr. Mark Drapeau is part of the Microsoft Office of Civic Innovation in Washington, DC.

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