MeriTalk - Where America Talks Government
Steve O'Keeffe

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Posted: 12/21/2010 - 2 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

Breaking news - huge data breach. MeriTalk hacked Santa's inbox - more than new iPads and American Girl dolls, the naughty and nice all want innovation this year. Before you log off for the holidays, get in the right frame of mind for innovation in 2011 - go ahead and register for MeriTalk Innovation Nation 2011, April 5th at the D.C. Convention Center. Rub shoulders with 2,000+ Federal IT leaders. We've got everything on your list - downsized data center, cloud cookies, cyber comfort, mobile marvels, and more...
And remember, the Grinch loves a workaholic - bah humbug. So now's the time for family, friends, fun, and food. Set those phones to stun. Trade the Blackberry for cranberry. IM no more. Don't forget, Santa's watching... 
Wishing you and yours a happy holiday and prosperous 2011.
P.S. St. Nick, time to upgrade your e-mail security‚Ķ have you looked at cloud? Call GSA and USDA to get a jump on FISMA-compliant options.
Posted: 12/13/2010 - 2 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]


Okay, the sexual tension is finally over. Agencies are starting to consummate their cloud love. First, GSA gets it on with Google with Unisys as chaperone. Less than a week later, USDA takes a roll in the hay with Microsoft. Seems that love letters are the first cloud apps - both awards are for e-mail and collaboration platforms. So, let's take a closer look at these celebrity romances.

Is Bigger Better?

Valued at $6.7 million, the five-year GSA/Google contract serenades 15,000 GSAers agency-wide. It promises to cut GSA's cost by 50 percent - that's $15 million. This is a pure-play romance - a total cloud solution. The USDA deal is bigger - valued at $27 million over three years and promising to deliver 18 million smackers in savings. The deal will spoon 120,000 users, marrying 21 different e-mail systems at Ag's 5,000 offices worldwide. But, it's a more complex relationship - allowing for co-habitation of on-premise with cloud approaches.

All's Fair in Love and War?

As the respective couples waltz down the aisle, a series of clouds hang on the horizon - "if any man objects to this union, let him speak now..." Google's protest over the Interior cloud RFP is as yet unresolved. Further, the search giant is questioning the legitimacy of the USDA award on the grounds that it feels the RFP was not "fair and open." At the same time, Microsoft is disputing Google's cloud breadth and service levels - pointedly, questioning the location of Google's servers. Further, comments on a Microsoft blog infer misgivings about Google's security and architecture compatibility with Uncle Sam's standard operating guidelines. Let the record show, both Google and Microsoft cloud offerings are FISMA certified.

Get a Prenup?

The agencies' projected cloud savings numbers are flattering. Not so much that the numbers are huge or difficult to believe. MeriTalk worked with the private sector and Federal agencies to build the Federal Cloud Computing Savings Calculator. Agencies' numbers map well to the savings projections from the calculator. You can't sweep these savings under the rug, so, we encourage agencies to go ahead and get a prenuptial assessment of the savings opportunity before jumping the broom.

Hats off to the Father of the Bride

A lot of people around the Beltway characterized OMB's cloud push as a "Romeo-and-Juliet" romance - a tragic love affair that would never make it to the altar. Vivek Kundra must take some real pride as the proceedings unfold. And, the new OMB Cloud First three-program mandate appears to put some ammo in Uncle Sam's "cloud wedding shotgun." But, it's not yet time for happily ever after - e-mail and collaboration are the prettiest kids. We'll see how agencies do marrying off the "sensitive" children - their uglier, heavier, mission-critical apps. And, as GSA and USDA cut the cake, it'll be interesting to see who catches the bouquet...

Posted: 12/2/2010 - 3 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]


Gaddafis prefer blondes, the Yemeni president has a yen for good whiskey - no wonder they call it "ya man" - and the Saudis are mad at Ahmadinejad. Julian Assange and his cohorts at WikiLeaks put a new spin on open government. This stuff makes TSA molesting at the airport seem downright civilized. But, 200,000 pages and 200 cups of coffee in, I still can't find a definitive read on Uncle Sam's data centers count.

A recent MeriTalk Study - Federal Data Center Addiction - opened a new can of worms on the data center crunch. The survey, conducted this September - right before OMB found the additional 1,000 data centers - showed agencies project big numbers in data center savings, but that Feds are at sixes and sevens on the path forward. IT pros predict the crunch will empower their agencies to save nearly one-third of their data center budgets - $14.6 billion. There is motion - more than half said they have successfully consolidated some data centers. But, many are not moving quickly enough to meet OMB's deadlines - figures at odds with OMB's report card. And, while agencies' grading of OMB's data center consolidation guidance is improving, Feds say the teacher can do a lot better. Just 38 percent give OMB an A or B for its data center consolidation guidance - up from 30 percent in MeriTalk's Data Center Demolition Derby study released in June of this year.

So, net it out, do Feds think data center consolidation will work as OMB specified? Well, the jury is out. Just 33 percent of respondents say yes - the rest say no, or are unsure. Not great news for Messrs. Kundra, Spires, and Duffy. But on the bright side, yes votes are up from just 12 percent in the June study.

Interesting new information at a time when the Senate Appropriations Committee recently kyboshed OMB's new ask for data center consolidation funding due to lack of Federal guidance on the crunch. Rumor has it, there'll be a Senate hearing next year - but let's not leak that to the press.