The shopping cart model presumes you have a stable set of agreements with fixed price points, but that might not be as competitive as if you continually re-bid it, he explained.

It's a question Willey is grappling with. He said the District of Columbia is looking at the feasibility of developing a similar purchasing storefront for D.C.'s government agencies, which would allow them to conveniently buy software and services from Willey's Office of the Chief Technology Officer or from vendors.

Security Is No Different

Kundra mentioned repeatedly during Tuesday's announcement that the government is focused on maintaining and improving the security of the applications and services offered by And he said the federal government will continue to keep its sensitive data and systems in-house.

The feds spend $76 billion annually on IT, Kundra said. "Yet there have been a number of innovations that have happened that we [the federal government] haven't been a beneficiary of because there are legitimate issues around security, and there are legitimate issues around privacy, that haven't been addressed. What we've been able to do now is take on those issues," he said.

Products and vendors on will someday be required to carry Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) certification, and a number of vendors are working on that accreditation, Kundra said. But the software and services that are available now on the Web site are no different than off-the-shelf versions, he explained.

The transition toward cloud computing will require working with Congress in the coming years on legislation for technology standards and interoperability, he said.

"Moving into this new world of cloud computing, as we look at the very definition of FISMA and some of the security standards in this new environment, we have to look at how security is applied in this space," Kundra said.

Matt Williams  |  Associate Editor