In 2009, Recovery.gov was created as a way to follow the money being handed out through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Michael Wood, director of Recovery.gov, told Federal News Radio using the cloud has been a major contributing factor to the website’s success, starting with the redesign of Recovery.gov.
Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud was chosen to host the site during the redesign process.
“The big challenge for the federal government was would it be run in the U.S.? Amazon gave us some assurances it would be. So the servers that they’re using are in the U.S. and we moved to the cloud.”
The transition happened in record time. It only took about 12 weeks to move into the cloud. Wood admits however that his agency didn’t have as many security concerns as other agencies might have moving into the cloud.
Steal my data. I’m all about transparency. There is an advantage there. There are a lot of federal people that there are security concerns. There are privacy concerns. We had less of that so we had an advantage of being able to move very rapidly. But that’s been very, very successful. It gives us tremendous flexibility. You can spin up servers very quickly…If we need to change or if there’s a problem we can actually spin up a new server in about five minutes so that’s worked out very, very well.
The success of Recovery.gov could mean more federal websites just like it in the future. In fact, one has already been created and is being run by the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board – the same group that runs Recovery.gov.
It’s called FederalTransparency.gov and was created as a way to track federal spending. Currently the site is tracking the grants given out under the Education Jobs Fund.