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Government IT and Cloud Computing

September 25, 2009

Government plans and their commitment for cloud computing seems very promising. I do certainly appreciate and congratulate the government leaders and their courageous and bold steps in driving the Cloud adoption. During the times of crisis, we need innovations like this. Recent announcement by Vivek Kundra to source services from the public cloud is definitely an attractive model but there are many challenges below the surface.

My sense is that many government workloads need to run on a controlled environment and their users demand greater degree of control. There may be many bumps on their way to use the public clouds due to their existing assets or contracts or due to data security and access challenges. They may have to run their applications or services in a “private cloud” for a while. Then the bigger issue is how to peer, monitor, and manage the “private cloud” infrastructure across many agencies owned assets and/or including resources from outside the government agencies. Even in the private industries, we face many daunting challenges with existing environments; issues with software licenses, already committed support/infrastructure contracts, hardwired applications and security and access control nightmares across different data centers. I am not sure how easy it is to transition the legacy and more complex, government-owned infrastructure to a “private cloud”? Then comes the much bigger challenge: how successful they can be in establishing the governance of a private cloud infrastructure involving several agencies?

Nonetheless, there is a tremendous amount of excitement, interest, and opportunities around the Cloud Computing. To keep this wave of innovation in IT transformation moving forward, there are many issues that need to be addressed. It is time for all private industries and government to come to the aid of working together to define interoperable, secure cloud-serving infrastructure.

Padmasree Warrior, Cisco CTO, writes on her blog, “We are already working with a variety of organizations to build what we call private clouds. Private clouds combine a cloud operating system with Cisco’s cloud internetworking technology portfolio to link agency and service provider resources into a single agency-managed cloud environment. This cloud is then available to any device, anywhere via standard TCP/IP networking technologies. Importantly, the cloud also gives IT the ability to reach out and leverage the resources of cloud service providers. Private Clouds fundamentally change the dynamic between IT and the rest of the organization by reducing inefficiencies and increasing the rate of business innovation”.

Collective innovation like this would help us move forward and together we all could create and claim huge value from this opportunity.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. October 9, 2009 3:35 am

    There are many updates and initiatives within Govt. Agencies where they are actively seeking solutions to migrate into cloud. The biggest challenge is Security and the FISMA which are currently focused by NIST and other private cloud providers to get accredited and build SLA’s around it. The best I have seen is NEBULA a open source cloud getting ready for the Govt. Infrastructure. I can’t wait to see the explosion in the Govt. Sector for a huge shift to integrate common enterprise processes like RFP, BID’s, HR management etc., of different State Agencies into a single Cloud with a SaaS based solutions.

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