Cloud computing tips from NASA’s Chris Kemp

NASA’s Nebula Cloud Computing Platform has gotten a lot of attention from agencies looking to move into the cloud. Chris Kemp, the Chief Technology Officer for IT at NASA, spoke with Federal News Radio about his agency’s use of the cloud and how that has morphed over the years.

Initially, the Nebula cloud was developed to get NASA’s thousands of public-facing websites all on the same platform. However, the agency also realized it could use the cloud as an infrastructure-as-a-service offering for compute and storage. Kemp said this is the area that has really gained traction at the agency.

Using the cloud in this way has also helped NASA with efficiency. Kemp said typical utilization of infrastructure is 20 percent but Nebula allows NASA to run at 80-90 percent efficiency.

To help understand all of the various cloud platforms available (both internally at NASA and externally in the private sector), Kemp said NASA has developed a cloud service office.  


“By having expertise in all these areas, as we have a new application, we can consult with them and send them to the right place. Architect [a] solution that involves cloud but that appropriately uses these different technologies because every cloud has different characteristics.”

Kemp recommends all agencies form a group like this as cloud becomes an even bigger focus in 2011 and beyond.

Listen to the full interview with NASA’s Chris Kemp.