Federal and state governments are prodigious information technology users. Federal Chief Information Security Office Vivek Kundra reports that the United States government is spending $76B annually on 10,000 different systems. In a recently released report, State of Public Sector Cloud Computing, Vivek Kundra summarizes the benefits of cloud computing:
There was a time when every household, town, farm or village had its own water well. Today, shared public utilities give us access to clean water by simply turning on the tap; cloud computing works in a similar fashion. Just like the water from the tap in your kitchen, cloud computing services can be turned on or off quickly as needed. Like at the water company, there is a team of dedicated professionals making sure the service provided is safe and available on a 24/7 basis. Best of all, when the tap isn’t on, not only are you saving water, but you aren’t paying for resources you don’t currently need.
§ Economical. Cloud computing is a pay-as-you-go approach to IT, in which a low initial investment is required to get going. Additional investment is incurred as system use increases and costs can decrease if usage decreases. In this way, cash flows better match total system cost.
§ Flexible. IT departments that anticipate fluctuations in user load do not have to scramble to secure additional hardware and software. With cloud computing, they can add and subtract capacity as its network load dictates, and pay only for what they use.
§ Rapid Implementation. Without the need to go through the procurement and certification processes, and with a near-limitless selection of services, tools, and features, cloud computing helps projects get off the ground in record time.
§ Consistent Service. Network outages can send an IT department scrambling for answers. Cloud computing can offer a higher level of service and reliability, and an immediate response to emergency situations.
§ Increased Effectiveness. Cloud computing frees the user from the finer details of IT system configuration and maintenance, enabling them to spend more time on mission-critical tasks and less time on IT operations and maintenance.
§ Energy Efficient. Because resources are pooled, each user community does not need to have its own dedicated IT infrastructure. Several groups can share computing resources, leading to higher utilization rates, fewer servers, and less energy consumption.
This document defines cloud computing and describes the federal government approach and then goes on to cover 30 case studies. The case studies are the most interesting part of the report in that they provide a sampling of the public sector move to cloud computing showing its real and project are underway and substantial progress is being made.
It’s good to see the federal government showing leadership at a time when the need for federal services are undiminished but the burgeoning federal deficit needs to be brought under control. The savings possible through cloud computing are substantial and the federal IT spending base is enormous, so its particularly good to be adopting this new technology delivery platform at scale.
· Document: State of Public Sector Cloud Computing
· Executive Summary: State of Public Sector Cloud Computing
Thanks to Werner Vogels for sending this article my way.