Microsoft and NYC work together on Cloud Computing deal

Microsoft and NYC work together on Cloud Computing deal

New York City’s government is moving to Microsoft’s cloud.

A $20 million deal between the Bloomberg administration and the Redmond, Wash., computing giant announced Wednesday that it will consolidate software and hardware operated by individual agencies onto Internet-based computer “clouds.” They allow software, documents and other data normally stored on local hard drives and servers to be accessed through the Internet.

City officials say cloud computing will allow agencies to work more collaboratively on projects. Developers can design and easily deploy software applications in response to city problems. And eventually, the cloud will be a place where citizens can not only propose solutions to vexing government problems but learn from each other’s ideas.

While these new tools go by buzzwords like “crowd sourcing” and “Government 2.0,” officials say they simply allow the city to more quickly adopt new technologies and improve government services.

“We’d like to have a more interactive dialogue with our constituents,” said Carole Post, commissioner of the city’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications.

Cloud computing is also more cost-effective: Servers can be centrally located and managed, and software can be updated on the server rather than on an individual’s computer. The city can set up computer kiosks for people who don’t need computers or don’t spend much time at their desks but want to access e-mail and the city’s computer cloud. City workers can also access tools and information on the cloud via handheld devices like iPads and mobile phones.

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