Government Is Out-Clouding the Private Sector - InformationWeek

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5/28/2010
04:37 PM
John Soat
John Soat
Commentary
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Government Is Out-Clouding the Private Sector

Are government agencies outpacing their corporate counterparts in cloud computing? That might seem to be the case, given the recent exposure around government cloud initiatives. However, it may be that governments and corporations have different agendas when it comes to the cloud.

Are government agencies outpacing their corporate counterparts in cloud computing? That might seem to be the case, given the recent exposure around government cloud initiatives. However, it may be that governments and corporations have different agendas when it comes to the cloud.

The recent Gov 2.0 Expo 2010 showcased several examples of cloud computing. Featured speakers included two connected with high-profile government cloud initiatives, one at the city of Los Angeles and one at NASA.

In a recent interview, InformationWeek editor-at-large Charles Babcock talks about the cloud computing effort at NASA and why it makes sense for that particular government agency. (There's also a link to a chapter about NASA's cloud initiative in Babcock's new book, Management Strategies for the Cloud Revolution: How Cloud Computing Is Transforming Business and Why You Can't Afford to Be Left Behind.)

One of the more interesting and ambitious cloud efforts talked about at the Gov 2.0 Expo was a private cloud initiative set to launch in Washington D.C. Washington's private cloud project is interesting in light of the apparent conservatism the private sector has displayed around the concept (and execution) of private clouds.

(Washington has been known as an ambitious tech innovator since the days when Vivek Kundra was its CTO. Kundra is now CIO of the federal government, tapped by President Obama, which helps explain why the feds are so hot for the cloud.)

It's not that private enterprise isn't interested in cloud computing. For instance, the corporate side isn't shy when it comes to software-as-a-service. Even large corporations are jumping in with both feet, despite SaaS's reputation as an option for small/midsize businesses.

It could it be that government agencies lean toward ambitious cloud efforts like private clouds and enterprise e-mail in the SaaS model because their priorities involve low cost, efficiency, and inclusiveness, while the private sector is more interested in cloud computing's ability to provide rapidly deployable point solutions to answer competitive pressures.

There are big, fat generalizations on both sides of that supposition. But trends are just that, trends. Am I off on this? What's your experience?Are government agencies outpacing their corporate counterparts in cloud computing? That might seem to be the case, given the recent exposure around government cloud initiatives. However, it may be that governments and corporations have different agendas when it comes to the cloud.

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