“2009 Cloud Consensus Report” Shows Federal Government Cloud Computing Progress

MeriTalk and the Merlin Federal Cloud Initiative (an alliance with Merlin International, NetApp, Riverbed, and VMware) today announced the results of its study, the “2009 Cloud Consensus Report – Bringing the Cloud Down to Earth.” The study reveals that though cloud computing is considered the hot technology topic today, neither the private nor the public sectors have a clear understanding of what cloud computing fully encompasses. Only 13 percent of private- and public-sector IT executives report that their organization or agency is using cloud computing, while 44 percent report using applications that rely on the cloud.

The “2009 Cloud Consensus Report” provides snapshots of industry and government cloud progress, details the issues stalling the Federal cloud transition, and provides recommendations to enable agency cloud-readiness. On track with industry, most Federal agencies claim to be in cloud learning mode, which presents an opportunity for the Federal government to lead by creating a unified cloud definition and standards that can be universally employed across all agencies and into industry. While government and industry are in early adoption, the future looks promising. Forecasting ahead, 76 percent of IT and government managers believe that the cloud is here to stay.

Federal Civilian and Department of Defense agency respondents cited savings as the top benefit to cloud computing – 63 percent of all Federal respondents believe this technology is the key to reducing IT expenses. Today’s economy, the increased emphasis on agency cost savings, and President Barack Obama’s technology initiatives of transparency, collaboration, and participation all make the promise of the cloud appealing to those looking for the panacea for Federal IT woes. The new administration is placing special emphasis on transitioning to the cloud to tap into the cloud’s potential to allow agencies to save without sacrifice. The National Institute of Standards and Technologies (NIST) has offered a working definition of cloud computing. But what is holding up the transition?

Seventy-eight percent of respondents claimed that concerns over security in the cloud are the biggest barrier to cloud adoption, while 41 percent also cited privacy concerns. To build cloud confidence, Federal IT executives need security assurance and examples of cloud implementation success stories to clear the way for widespread cloud adoption. In the interim, agencies can take advantage of the benefits of the private cloud to centralize and virtualize their IT infrastructures and comply with Federal mandates, such as continuity of operations (COOP).

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I'm a blogger, entrepreneur, conference organizer, social media consultant, startup advisor and allround web addict, based in Belgium, Europe. I'm a writer at TechCrunch and managing editor of Virtualization.com.

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