In 2009, the Obama Administration announced the Federal Government’s Cloud Computing Initiative. The goals of the initiative were to leverage cloud computing to reduce waste, increase efficiency, and cut costs for the federal government. Since the initiative, there has been great strides made in cloud computing. Data consolidation has taken off, as the government plans to close over 1,000 data centers by the end of 2012.
Cloud computing is now a viable solution for government agencies, and can be a way to drive innovation in agencies. There are significant benefits to cloud computing. Common benefits I’ve heard are:
- Cost Savings
- Increased Software Capacity
- Increased Staffing Capacity
- Energy Efficiency
In a Statement by Dr. David McClure, Associate Administrator, Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technology, in front of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation, hearing titled, “The Next IT Revolution? Cloud Computing Opportunities and Challenges,” McClure stated:
What other challenges face federal agencies in adopting cloud computing services,
and what steps is the GSA taking to overcome these challenges?
“Considerable progress has been made in adopting successful cloud solutions. Cloud computing’ is now an accepted part of the federal IT lexicon. However, there continues to be a need for more thorough understanding of the cloud’s deployment models, unique security implications, and data management challenges. Agency executives should not focus on cloud technology itself; rather, they should focus on the desired outcome driving the need for cloud adoption.
CIOs need to work with their line of business executives and program managers to develop and deploy effective cloud roadmaps that address pressing agency mission needs, taking into
account costs savings and expected performance improvements. Agencies should analyze
business needs and identify cloud solutions that best fit their requirements by making cloud
adoption part of an overall IT portfolio management and sourcing strategy.”
McClure continued by stating:
“If linked to cloud provider products and services, it would greatly assist in this decision-making. Cultural resistance is also a major challenge. Cloud adoption requires moving away from managing physical assets to buying services. As GSA’s own experience has shown, these issues can be effectively addressed. Critical success factors include robust communication, practical training and emphasis on the benefits of cloud, and especially on the control agencies gain by buying what they need and defining performance metrics that are tied to desired performance results. GSA found that having a group of early adopters fostered buy-in and enthusiasm, and provided a ready corps of skilled users.”
McClure had numerous fascinating observations about cloud computing. For me, there were four comments that really stood out, and seem to be common themes for cloud computing:
- More Thorough Understanding of Better Deployment Models
- Understanding of Security Issues
- Agencies need to build better road maps
- Culture Resistance to the cloud
Are there any challenges that you would add? Has your agency used found any best practices that have helped move past the challenges McClure lists? What do are some of the biggest challenges facing your agency?
Complete Interview: http://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/120147
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