NASA’s Connection to the Cloud has come of age. NASA has recently made that move. The result is a million dollars a year in savings. This speaks loudly about what they think about some scientific operations. Cloud operations can handle them better. In fact, they have closed 20 data centers, consolidating those operations in two Cloud ventures.
The first venture involves using Amazon Web Services and moving some of its enterprise infrastructure to become more efficient and improve economies of scale. They were also interested in tool and device integration, consolidating their goals, improving security and oversight, and increasing accountability. No doubt most of these options became necessary after the end of the Space Shuttle operations and the trimming down of budgets.
The second venture involves the Microsoft Azure cloud. First off, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory uploaded 250,000 pictures of Mars onto a Microsoft Windows Azure cloud platform. The goal is to engage the American people in space exploration. What NASA hopes is that by using the Cloud they can reach more people and engage the public and support STEM activities in schools. STEM is short for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).
Next, NASA is now deploying SERVIR, which integrates satellite and ground-based data with forecast models to monitor environmental changes and improve global response to natural disasters, to a cloud-based geospatial IT infrastructure.
NASA is also working to improve transparency into its IT operations. It has deployed centrally managed end-user services, communications services, web services, enterprise application management, and development capabilities. It also launched a central business office and working capital fund to support several major IT contracts.
This is just the beginning as NASA finds more options and opportunities for enhancing the public knowledge of the system as well as consolidating more operational tasks to its daily work system. With this spirit, the Cloud may provide many other avenues for data and scientific growth.