MeriTalk - Where America Talks Government
Steve O'Keeffe


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Posted: 2/1/2010 - 1 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

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Is cloud a bubble expectation? Let's be honest, as CIOs circle the jump zone, they are not exactly trampling each other to get to the exit. In fact, if it wasn't for the push from OMB, many agencies would likely skip the "Geronimo experience" and come back down to earth in the enterprise plane.

You see, it's not that CIOs and the Fed IT community at large aren’t stoked about the cloud vision – it's more that they're all frequent fliers. And, every 1K winces at security, delays, baggage handling, and, of course, operational turbulence.

It's time to bring the Federal cloud hype down to earth. Wouldn't it be great to bring Feds and industry together to develop a consensus-based Federal Cloud Savings Calculator – a framework that allows Feds to enter information from their OMB 300 submissions and GAO data calls and project their probable cloud transition savings?  Wouldn't it be great to provide a common space for Federal IT professionals to share their experience with cloud implementations and operations – both good and not so much – so that we could learn from one another?

Well, that's just what MeriTalk did. We issued a data call to industry in September 2009 – asking for available cloud savings models. Next, we synthesized the models and developed a working framework – one for transitioning steady-state environments and another for building new programs in the cloud (DME). Then we briefed the frameworks back to industry and asked for comment. This was truly an open process – Amazon, Acumen Solutions, Cisco, DLT Solutions, EMC, Google, Government Acquisitions, HP, IBM, Juniper, NetApp, Oracle, and the like – most of the major players engaged. Next, we updated and briefed the models to the cloud leaders across the Federal government – Commerce, DISA, Energy, GSA, Interior, and NASA.

So, let's roll the new Cloud Savings Calculator out of the hangar for the first time – http://www.meritalk.com/savings-calculator.php.

Free to use for government, the MeriTalk Cloud Savings Calculator provides a tool for Feds to begin setting more realistic, common expectations before their cloud jump. It certainly is not perfect. But it does provide a starting point platform that has been reviewed by many of the key stakeholders – on both public and private sides of the aisle. Powered by more than 1,400 calculations, it provides sober metrics to peg potential cloud savings. It shows agencies their transition options across various cloud models – private, community, and public. Importantly, it acknowledges that cloud is not a cure all, and that much of today's and tomorrow's Federal IT processing cannot make the jump to cloud.

 

 And, if the sources of information on the last round of OMB passbacks are to be believed – and they should be – the timing for the launch of the calculator may prove serendipitous. Word is that agencies must make an earnest effort to investigate the cloud option before receiving funding, possibly as soon as this October and for certain by FY 2012.

To net it out, it's time to cut through the cloud hype. If cloud is really to take off, agencies need to see the business value and weigh the risks. A push strategy is not enough. The calculator allows agencies to better understand the consequences before jumping. The king’s horses and king’s men are both relieved and excited.

Oh, and before you ask, no – Kathy Ireland had nothing to do with this one...