In of their products rather than the operational

In
the past few years, the IT sector has seen the emergence of a dominant
computing model, cloud computing. Cloud
computing has gone ahead to provide users, be it government agencies or the
private sector with an enabling flexible, on-demand and a cost-effective access to a wide pool of shared
resources. Cloud computing has tremendously relieved users be it large or small
form the cost of investment on hardware infrastructure or software licenses
required to store their data. Also, this computing service has helped reduce
the cost of operation since the users are enabled to focus on the quality of
their products rather than the operational complexities. Many traditional
services and applications such as file hosting, complex business application
for client management and hosting of other applications has been transferred to
the cloud for storage. With this new technology, the transfer of major data
management services and application has helped create a demand for productive
cloud computing services (Voorsluys., Buyya &  Broberg, 2011).
Taking our government as an example, this paper is going to analyze the
different cloud computing services specifically variety of platforms and
solutions available.

Cloud
computing has three different fundamentals within which it offers its services.
Which include Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)
and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) (Voorsluys et.
al., 2011).
The PaaS is the model through which the cloud provider offers a computing
platform where customers can use particular tools offered by the provider for
the particular platform to build their own applications or networks on the
provided platform. Here the cloud provider only maintains the underlying platform
while the client is left to be responsible for the application or framework
built on the platform. IaaS, on the other hand,
involves the provision of the physical infrastructure to customers. Here,
clients are required to install their own operating system and applications,
while the cloud service provider are left to be responsible for managing the
system. Lastly, the SaaS model entails
the cloud service provider offering remote access to a domain specific
application and/or database that they have already built to clients. As such, the
client are not responsible for the underlying platform running the application
or the database.  

With
the flourishing of the Cloud so has plenty platforms for cloud software
development have come up.  Depending on their
operation, the different Cloud platforms which have emerged are characterized
as follows: (1) Processing, Documentation, Management, (2) Programming
Environments, (3) Repositories, (4) Orchestration tools and finally (5)
Modeling, Composition (Fylaktopoulos, et.al, 2016). Cloud programming
environment which are web-based application include all the tools necessary in
the design and development of all phases of a software development lifecycle.
They designed to offer all the necessary development capabilities to
developers. This platform consist of source code editors, compilers, debugger
and solution viewer for managing the self-regulating subcomponents. So far this
platform have really evolved to include collaborating structures for code
sharing, monitoring tools amongst others (Voorsluys et. al., 2011).

Cloud
repositories, on the other hand, are a
platform which provide web-based hosting facilities that empowers or influence
the strength of renowned control systems such as Git, Subversion, and Mercurial. This platform further offer support
services and tools which include bug tracking, wiki-based documentation,
mailing list and release management. The other platform, modeling, and composition i.e. modeling tools
are those applications used to describe the practical and non-practical
necessities of a software development project. Modeling tools include an
interface or component, a process, and a
designer. Some of the modeling tools include StarUML (STARUML) and Argo UML which are extensively used for desktop apps
(Voorsluys et. al., 2011).

As
for the composition tools, this refers to the platform of development
environment that tries to include all phases of an app coding lifecycle. These
are debugging, editing, maintaining application source code, compiling testing
and linking. This tool is mostly used in desktop applications out of its
friendly user interfaces and intelligent code management. Processing, Documentation
tools refers to the software tools which are used to cover the need of
maintaining or having an integral hub for reference information and help. This
tools help to provide innovative search filters, enhances collaboration among
teams and also offer single knowledge database pool. Orchestration tools refer
to the software which constantly monitors the executed cloud app checking the
software’s elasticity and scalability (Rouse, 2010).

Within
the US’s state organs, the use of cloud computing services commenced in
September of 2009 during the Obama administration (Rouse, 2010). The government
had federal agencies buying government cloud-based IT services through a
government website, maintained by the General Service Administration (GSA),
Apps.gov. All the three categories of cloud computing services or software i.e.
Iaas, SaaS and PaaS vendors had to be listed in the GSA schedule 70 to provide
services to government agencies.

The
government chose to adopt cloud computing services not only to modernize the
government’s IT infrastructure but also reduce its operative costs. Prior to
the adoption of cloud computing services, the government used to spend
approximately $76 billion each year on IT and more than $19 billion this total
could go to infrastructure costs. Actually, different government agency had and
maintained their own data centers together with their server farms hence the
government was responsible for hundreds of self-regulating federal data
centers. Through cloud computing, the
American government has been helped tremendously in reducing infrastructure costs
and improving data sharing among the different federal agencies, local government, and states (Fylaktopoulos et. al., 2016).

Despite
having several advantages, Fylaktopoulos et. al. points out that the Cloud
has also its share of disadvantages. One major challenge faced by the Federal
Cloud Computing Initiative surrounded the standardization around the cloud’s
security apparatus and the lack of a well-cut
transitional strategy to be used by these agencies when choosing which IT
service to be transitioned to cloud. To tackle this challenge, the government
need to work closely with the public sector to establish areas of security,
data profitability, and interoperability.
The other strategy which can be used to handle the security challenge of the
cloud is that users should have differences for backing up data. As it is
commonly experienced, vendors usually have backups mostly for their clouds and
not applications. As such, users should ensure that they have scheduled backups
for their critical applications. 

Furthermore,
to ensure security of data in the cloud, users should educate their members as
it is critical to understand how the migration cloud computing affects
operations within an agency. The technical teams should be well educated on
their new roles and responsibilities while every team members should be
enlightened on the benefits of cloud computing. Still,
on training and education regarding use of cloud computing, it’s important that
teams are trained ahead of time. Usually, much differences arise within system
administration when an agency migrate to the cloud. To ensure that the
transition is seamless and the team is prepared, an agency should see that it
trains its members ahead of time (Fylaktopoulos et. al., 2016).