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Direct from the White House: APIs are Key to Extending Platforms [May 20, 2014]

Submitted on
mardi, le 20 mai 2014h
,
OpenSource.com

By Jason Hibbets

To a technology director at the White House, the State of the Union is like the Superbowl. While the world is watching the President of the United States deliver an address to the nation, Leigh Heyman and his team are managing the media technology behind the scenes to create an enhanced and interactive experience for the viewers. How many of you watched the State of the Union on YouTube this year?

As the Director of New Media Technologies at the Executive Office of the President, Heyman uses strong leadership to chart new technical territory for the White House. If you ever get to meet him in person, the first thing that will likely grab your attention is the presidential lapel pin on his suit. It's a little intimidating, but his broad smile and confident handshake tell the whole story.

It's one of confidence and openness, and it's what struck me when I met Heyman for the first time at the Palmetto Open Source Conference in Columbia, South Carolina. He was presenting a talk about We The People, the White House online petition platform. It is one of many tech projects with a nod towards a more open and transparent government that Heyman and his team have led, including WhiteHouse.gov which runs on Drupal and various White House hackathons held at the White House itself.

Though no less extraordinary, it's somewhat old news that the White House has been using open source technologies in it's efforts. At DrupalCon San Francisco, the White House revealed their first contributions to Drupal. What's exciting now is they are consistently giving back to open source projects and writing web APIs.

This marks a new era for the government's relationship with open source, and is due in part to the work the New Media Technologies team does to promote a more transparent, collaborative, and participatory government.

In this interview, Leigh Heyman gives me some of the backstory on how he came to work for the Executive Office of the President and some fun facts about the famous Death Star Petition. He also discusses recent new media projects at the White House, shedding light on how they might live beyond the current administration and forge a new relationship with US citizens.

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Transit Strike Shows Power of Drupal, Cloud Computing [May 16, 2014]

Submitted on
vendredi, le 16 mai 2014h
,
StateScoop

In October, Bay Area Rapid Transit, which provides public transportation to the city of San Francisco, found itself in a public labor dispute, which culminated in a four-day strike that halted transportation services.

With nearly 400,000 daily riders — San Franciscans who relied on the system for transportation — the department’s website found itself with 10 times its normal traffic as users looked for information on when trains would run again.

The increase in Web traffic normally would have shut the site down, but just weeks before, the transit system — affectionately known as BART — moved its Web operations to Drupal, hosted inside Acquia’s cloud.

“Drupal allowed them the space to innovate and find better ways to communicate with their users,” Todd Akers, vice president of public sector for Acquia, told StateScoop. “In addition, hosting on Acquia Cloud allowed them to reduce costs by 70 percent and gave them the elasticity needed to handle times of higher demand.”

Akers pointed to a similar situation Acquia worked on with the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority in October 2012. When Hurricane Sandy caused outages throughout the northeast, the department’s Web operations were able to keep running – keeping citizens informed – during times of crisis when communication is needed most.

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Australian Government Likely to Standardise on Drupal [May 9, 2014]

Submitted on
vendredi, le 9 mai 2014h
,
Computerworld

By Rohan Pearce

AGIMO wants Drupal delivered from the cloud to be the standard CMS

The federal government is eyeing the introduction of a government-wide content-management system. The Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) has indicated its preference is to use the open-source Drupal Web platform and to have the CMS delivered as a cloud service.

"The Government Content Management System (GovCMS) is envisaged as an important service offering for Australian Commonwealth Government agencies," the Australian government CTO, John Sheridan, wrote in a blog entry.

"GovCMS is intended to support more effective web channel delivery functions within Government, and enable agencies to redirect effort from non-core transactional activities, towards higher-value activities that are more aligned with core agency missions," a draft statement of requirements issued by AGIMO states.

An analysis by AGIMO found that between 182 and 450 websites could be transitioned to GovCMS over four years. The use of an open source solution means that Drupal modules could be shared between public sector agencies and the community, the draft states.

A transition to GovCMS will begin with Australia.gov.au and Finance.gov.au, the document states. The target go-live date is September this year.

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FedRAMP OnRamp Seeks to Ease Path to Secure Government Clouds [March 14, 2014]

Submitted on
vendredi, le 14 mars 2014h
,
Data Center Knowledge

By Rich Miller

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Ordering a pizza over the Internet is easy. Provisioning compliant cloud services for federal government agencies is hard.

Steve O’Keeffe would like to change that. O’Keeffe is the founder of MeriTalk, a public/private partnership focused on improving government IT, which has launched a new tool to help federal agencies find cloud providers that have received security certifications under The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP).

The FedRAMP OnRamp was launched Thursday at the Data Center Brainstorm, a conference at the Newseum that brought together IT managers from federal agencies, along with representatives of leading vendors and service providers to the government sector.

“The challenge with FedRAMP is that it hasn’t been particularly transparent until now,” said O’Keeffe. “There are different flavors of FedRAMP, and they’re all about risk management.”

Cloud First, But Only With FedRAMP

FedRAMP is designed to centralize the process of certifying vendors to offer cloud computing services that meet the strict security requirements of federal agencies. Cloud providers must gain FedRAMP certification to provide cloud services to federal agencies. Without FedRAMP, service providers would need to individually certify cloud installations at each agency they serve.

That would be an expensive undertaking. MeriTalk estimates the average cost for the government to perform a FedRAMP cloud security certification at $250,000. Using FedRAMP has already saved service providers more than $37.5 million in certification costs, according to estimates from MeriTalk and the General Services Administration.

That doesn’t mean that it’s always user-friendly. One of the goals of the FedRAMP OnRamp is to provide quick access to information about which companies have gained certification as Cloud Service Providers. That number currently stands at 14: AINS, Inc., Akamai, Amazon, AT&T, Autonomic Resources, CGI, Concurrent Technologies, HP, IBM, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, Oracle, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Another 15 cloud providers are currently in the FedRAMP approval process, including Acquia Inc., CA Technologies, CenturyLink Technology Solutions, Clear Government Solutions (CGS), Economic Systems, Fiberlink, HP, Layered Tech Government Solutions, Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce.com, SecureKey Technologies Inc., Verizon Terremark, Virtustream, and VMware.

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How Bay Area Transit Survived a Site Launch in a Traffic Storm [Jan. 7, 2014]

Submitted on
mardi, le 7 janvier 2014h
,
Government Technology

By Jason Shueh

The Bay Area Rapid Transit service launched website redesign in only five months while also battling a 20,000-visitor traffic spike. How did they do it?

It could have been a recipe perfect for disaster. Just five days after Northern California’s Bay Area Rapid Transit relaunched its new Web site, BART.gov, it was hit with its second largest traffic spike of 2013 — a daunting threat, considering the site was placed on an expedited four-month development timeline and was unveiled just as BART's two largest employee unions were embroiled in a pitched labor dispute.

Oddly, however, BART’s Web Services Manager Tim Moore remembers the day — at least from a Web standpoint — being fairly calm. Moore said records show that on Nov. 22, between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m., BART.gov handled more than 20,000 unique visitors due to a major service delay in transit operations. The number represented an impact to the site that was roughly 11 times greater than normal for the hour, a time that typically averages only 1,800 visitors.

This success, which Moore describes as a “trial by fire,” was a quiet celebration that day as the news media focused their attention on commuter delay updates and the ongoing union dispute. The website’s strong showing and the secret behind its speedy development strategy is noteworthy, not simply within the framework of organizational accolades, but also in the way of lessons learned — lessons that began on day one.

A Surprise Announcement
At the beginning of January 2013, Moore said BART received a startling notice from Adobe, the site’s content management system provider. BART’s Web team was told that by the end of 2013, Adobe Publish, the site’s former content management system, would be phased out entirely.

“That meant that we’d lose all of our Web site publishing capabilities, our editing capabilities and maintenance capabilities in less than a year,” Moore said. “So effectively, that’s when the stopwatch started.”

Top 3 Challenges Facing Public Sector Intranets

All intranet efforts start out with the best intentions. Organizations envision an information hub for their community made up of easy to find websites that are simple to create and maintain. A one-stop shop for all their information needs, if you will. Many of these efforts fail, causing the end users to shudder at the mere mention of such an attempt again. And for government organizations, there are additional challenges when creating an intranet as part of a Digital Government Strategy.

Akamai Government Forum

We're proud to be a part of the Akamai Government Forum 2013!

Rebroadcast: Three podcasts on Drupal and government

Three great past podcasts this week on Drupal in government. The first (and the audio included directly here) is "Helping the Federal Government solve public sector problems with Drupal" with Acquian Bryan Hirsch, originally from May 2012. Check out the other two I have linked to for other interesting perspectives on this important subject.

Akamai Public Sector Conference

Acquia is proud to be a sponsor of this event!

We will be running a Cloud Breakout - stay tuned for details!

Bryan Hirsch, "Helping the Federal Government solve public sector problems with Drupal"

Bryan Hirsch comes from a background of software engineering and political activism. He originally joined Acquia as an engineer on the Drupal Gardens team thanks to his expertise and interest in software-as-a-service products. His new position at Acquia as Senior Technical Consultant Acquia Government Practice Department allows him to leverage his longstanding interest in using open source software in government to save taxpayer dollars, improve civic engagement and government services.

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