All for one, one for all: Governments broaden vision for shared clouds and services

26 July 2012 | Joel Cherkis, General Manager, Worldwide Government

​If you’ve been following international cloud computing news recently, what’s clear is that government leaders are emphasizing the need to think “big picture” about approaching the cloud. Most notably in government, there has been an emphasis on integrating cloud environments beyond traditional boundaries, as well as sharing resources via the cloud to achieve greater economies of scale, eliminate redundant infrastructures, reduce costs, and broaden government access to services at a fraction of the cost.

Take for example the call for the creation of a European Union (EU)-wide cloud computing strategy from Neelie Kroes, European Commissioner for the Digital Agenda. At a recent Economic Council Symposium on cloud computing in Brussels, Kroes presented on this topic, and emphasized the need for a single European cloud computing strategy to leverage economies of scale, as well as the benefits that are possible from the creation of a single EU cloud market.

Referring to the benefits of a cloud environment and the need to think more broadly, Kroes was quoted: “If we think small we won't get them [cloud benefits]. If we take a national approach, content ourselves with small clouds stuck in small markets, if we lock data within old borders, then we are limiting our cloud ambition.”

While Europe contemplates an ambitious EU-wide cloud strategy, similar ambitions can be observed in the United States. The U.S. Administration is in the midst of sweeping federal IT reform initiatives, which, among others, include mandating that all federal agencies migrate key services to the cloud. As part of this reform, the Administration recently released a strategy for agencies to leverage the cloud for shared services, which our sister blog, FutureFed, has been reporting on extensively.

As government organizations continue to feel pressure to do more with less amid economic uncertainty and stretched budgets, shared services, made possible by multi-tenant cloud environments, present a big opportunity to address this challenge. However, the devil is certainly in the details as government organizations begin wrapping their heads around operating within a collective cloud environment with shared services. It’s a transformative change that has far-reaching implications from a technology, policy and cultural standpoint. For a closer look at this issue, I highly encourage you to check out some recent posts on FutureFed, which observe how the U.S. government is beginning to make this transition, as well as key considerations that are involved in this process.

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Joel Cherkis
General Manager, Worldwide Government