The government’s desire to move to cloud computing is gaining significant momentum.
The White House is drafting a major new cloud policy (the first since 2010), and the newly created Cloud Center of Excellence, designed to drive government cloud adoption, began its pilot program at the Department of Agriculture several months ago.
It’s no surprise that cloud activity has escalated. For the foreseeable future, cloud computing will be the dominant modus operandi for information technology. Observers have noted that the massive migration of IT workloads to cloud is the third or fourth major disruptive shift in the history of computing, equaling in some ways the major disruption caused by the advent of the World Wide Web.
Why all the fuss? It’s simple: When properly and strategically deployed, cloud saves buckets of time and money.
In the pre-cloud era, provisioning an IT application required, among other things, purchasing servers and software, waiting for it to arrive, and then physically installing it in some form of an “on-premise” data center. Unfortunately, living in the material world of hardware and software deters speed or agility. Awaiting deliveries, installing software, and dealing with data-center logistics can take several months. Also, physical ownership of IT requires expending capital dollars, instantly putting a rapidly depreciating asset on the books. Perhaps more importantly, the old IT model required the procurer to purchase significantly more capacity than needed, to accommodate rare periods of peak usage. In point of fact, Amazon created the cloud business because it had built its own data-centers to handle the peak Christmas rush in December, even when much of its computing resources lay fallow for eleven months of the year. The traditional IT model fomented delay, lack of agility, and excess capacity — plus it incurred the table-stakes costs of running a data center: real-estate, power, and people.
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