Cloud computing is changing again and governments need to be aware of what this change is, and how it can affect their existing cloud infrastructure.
But first, just a quick overview of what current cloud computing services look like. The cloud can be broken into three models: infrastructure as a service, software as a service and platform as a service. Each provides something different to the governments and agencies that rely on the cloud. Infrastructure provides virtual machines, servers, storage and more. Platform cloud offers development tools and software cloud is often characterized as software on-demand, due the fact it is centrally hosted and used on a monthly subscription fee. For these reasons, the enterprise cloud systems governments use are vastly different than cloud services used by consumers.
The cloud industry is expected to experience further growth, according to a survey of 659 IT professionals , conducted by Dimensional Research and Equinox. Respondents said they valued flexibility without being locked into a single vendor and as a result, 77 percent of IT professionals are hoping to implement a multicloud architecture. According to Cloud Computing News, a multicloud is when different services, platforms and applications are implemented under one cloud. For instance, a multicloud can be a combination of two laaS providers, on-demand management and security cloud systems, InfoWorld said. Multicloud is becoming increasingly popular, but is it right for every government agency?
Which cloud is best for you?
The best cloud system is entirely dependent upon preferences. Some government agencies will choose a cloud computing service that provides every resource, tool and security measure. Other governments may wish to look into a multicloud solution and still use federal IT services to provide the necessary infrastructure. Cloud computing offerings are numerous, therefore governments should carefully look at the options and not rush into the latest trends.
Affect on governments
The future of the cloud is interesting, because as fast it is being adopted, it is also evolving and helping governments function better. By switching and fully embracing standard or multicloud cloud computing, state and local government agencies can better serve the public. Governments will have access to the latest updates and technologies, freeing up resources to use for public use. A good example would be library information systems. Information Week said these systems are often outdated and make librarians jobs harder. A cloud can help librarians managing and accessing large book collections.
Cloud computing is an essential for government agencies. The federal government is estimated to invest between $1.4 to $7 billion annually in cloud computing. However, according to a 2013 study by the Center for Digital Government, 46 percent of government IT leaders were currently in the planning, or in the process of engaging in cloud computing. However, with all the benefits of the cloud, that number can stand out as far too low. American City and County said far too many local and state governments are still in the evaluation stage of cloud computing and the benefits it provides. These agencies are not necessarily committed to migrating towards the cloud, but committed to researching about it.
If local and state governments want to improve efficiency, switching to the cloud is a must.