The federal government's heavy involvement in constituent information has led a number of organizations to estimate whether or not a cloud infrastructure would be capable of accommodating them. Budget cuts, employee capabilities and security are being considered in the decision.
Some evidence compiled by experts is in support of the cloud, whether it be through a private or public platform. Skyscape Cloud Services released the results of an extensive research project that compared and analyzed the capabilities of a cloud solution with an on-premise system in an attempt to figure which option was the most cost-effective. The opposing systems were surveyed through the following scenarios:
- Test and development
- Providing a high-traffic Web application used by citizens
- Hosting a complex enterprise application
The end result concluded that cloud computing was the most cost-effective choice between the two. The first scenario yielded 61 percent in cost savings. Other benefits of the solution, such as increased versatility and reduced energy consumption, were not factored into the equation. However, Skyscape believed the final statistics to be conservative estimates.
Moving Toward the Next Step
As of 2010, U.S. federal agencies have been obligated to abide by the Cloud-First Mandate, requiring them to consider cloud applications before any on-premise systems. Nearly four years later, organizations such as the Department of the Treasury, General Services Administration and the U.S. Navy have adopted the solutions.
The government's interest lies in the potential to customize a set of services on top of the cloud infrastructure, which ensures easy integration of existing software contracts, skill sets and legacy applications. The system is expected to reduce the overall cost of supporting each application individually.
By relying on private cloud vendors to support its operations, the federal government could be able to deliver services to constituents at a more economic, less time-consuming pace. Professionals have speculated that the security, data and applications services found multi-cloud enterprise platforms will play a large part in how the public sector chooses to harness the potential of the private cloud.