My Cup of IT: Royal Wedding?

By Steve O’Keeffe

Beefeaters polish crown jewels. Londoners pray for sunshine. What’s top of mind for the royal couple? Yep, William and Kate are wondering if cloud and data center consolidation – DCC – is a marriage made in heaven, or if Uncle Sam is getting trapped in a shotgun showdown. While President Obama won’t wing his way to Westminster to watch the Windsors’ wedding, we understand the young couple’s been texting Mr. Kundra’s iPhone with tough IT infrastructure questions. Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal article on unplugging 137 Federal data centers really piqued their curiosity. They’d do well to consult two new MeriTalk studies on cloud and DCC: The Federal Cloud Weather Report and Measure to Manage. Released in the last fortnight, these reports provide new insight on IT palace intrigue.

The Royal Nod?

So, what’s the skinny? Well, Fed IT’s blue bloods approve of the cloud push. Some 64 percent of CIOs say cloud will reduce cost and improve service – dubbing cloud a white knight for telework and mobility solutions. And, the aristocracy ain’t alone. Overall, Fed IT pros project Uncle Sam can save $14.4 billion in the first year through private cloud implementations.

The push for DCC gets a royal thumbs up too. Eighty-two percent of Fed IT pros say Uncle Sam can save money with fewer data centers – and they peg potential savings at $18.8 billion. Dropping beneath the strategy to the operational level, some 82 percent project they will achieve DCC goals in five years – two years beyond OMB’s 2015 deadline.

We Are Not Amused…

But, it’s not all wedding cake and champagne. Feds are not wowed by the prospect of being walked to their pew by the best man – Cloud First – for the cloud ceremony. Seventy-nine percent of Feds note that their agencies aren’t using Cloud First today. Further, 36 percent of CIOs say they don’t plan to embrace Cloud First in the next two years. Only half anticipate meeting goals – 52 percent plan to move one service to the cloud in the next 12 months, and 48 percent will move two additional services to the cloud in the next 18 months.

And, Feds have significant misgivings about OMB’s data center “divorce” initiative. “Alimony” is a concern – just 41 percent say they’ve a clear picture of consolidation costs. Interestingly, 60 percent of those that feel they understand DCC costs say they don’t have the budget to consolidate. And, to add confusion to the proceeding, the data center study exposes the version-control issues in data center vows. There are three different definitions of what constitutes a data center in play. Further, Feds don’t have common metrics for how to measure data center efficiency.

Stranded at the Altar…

And, what’s the future for Mr. Kundra at OMB? In the recent senatorial hearing, Vivek ducked Sen. Brown’s (R-Mass.) question about his plans to stick around to operationalize the 25-Point Plan. The Federal IT community wants to know if Mr. Kundra plans to leave cloud and DCC waiting at the altar.

And, as we tune in tomorrow to watch William and Kate jump the broom and head off for their honeymoon, who could miss the fact that two’s company – and three’s a cloud…

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