Cloud Computing | News

Budgets vs. Cloud Computing

Government data centers are on the verge of major changes, with consolidation and cloud computing significant components of the transformation, according to industry analyst IDC (International Data Corporation). Shrinking budgets and pressure by government entities such as the Federal CIO Council are some of the factors included in a recent report by IDC titled “Technology Selection: The Government Datacenter of the Future,” (Document #GI237095).
To help government data centers consider their next steps, the Government Insights  division, which “assists government policy, program, and IT leaders, as well as the suppliers who serve them, in making more effective technology decisions,” prepared the report. In addition to a review of current infrastructure, the report looks at various trends in the field and the implications each might have for the long-term needs, functionality, and design for IT infrastructure.

Just as schools have looked to the private cloud to unload costly hardware expenses in support of things such as e-mail, website hosting, data storage, and system backups, government entities are also trying to find cost-effective, secure alternatives. One option explored by IDC is the state-run cloud. Using the state of Michigan as one of several examples of IT consolidation, the report considers how a state government builds and manages fewer large data centers (their own cloud system) so that government offices in counties and cities within the same state use the same infrastructure. This cuts certain IT services and costs from local budgets.

Some other findings in the report include:

  • Energy efficiency will be boosted greatly while tapping into alternative energy resources such as wind, solar, nuclear, wave energy, and geothermal solutions.
  • Hardware will be increasingly rack-based, hot-swappable, progressively powerful and standardized, and designed to support heavily virtualized software.
  • Software solutions will consolidate around specific business functions, with organizations making those functions available as hundreds of discrete services that can be tapped into, via the cloud, by multiple applications and multiple agencies.

"The end result of this evolution will be fewer dedicated government data centers," said Shawn McCarthy, research director for IDC Government Insights. "But the remaining facilities will be quite large, serving multiple customers."

“The long-term trends are highly apparent, and IT managers are advised to familiarize themselves with how datacenters are evolving, in order to take advantage of important new resources.”

To purchase the report, contact IDC at (508) 872-8200.

About the Author

Margo Pierce is a Cincinnati-based freelance writer.