Kundra: 25 percent of IT spending should to go to the cloud

Administration strategy calls for data center reduction to pay for plan

Federal CIO Vivek Kundra’s recently released Federal Cloud Computing Strategy calls for about a quarter of federal IT spending to be committed to cloud systems.

Additionally, under the Cloud First program, agencies will be required to move three services to the cloud within 18 months, adopt a cloud model wherever feasible and evaluate cloud options before making investments.

An estimated $20 billion of the federal government’s $80 billion in IT spending could be used for cloud computing, Kundra said in the report. The agencies expected to spend the most on cloud technology are the Homeland Security and Treasury departments, at approximately $2.4 billion apiece, followed by the Defense, Veterans Affairs and Transportation departments.

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Funding for the move will be created through data center consolidation. Kundra anticipates a 30 percent reduction in data center infrastructure costs by moving to cloud solutions, with similar efficiencies in software applications and end-user support.

“Cloud computing can allow IT organizations to simplify, as they no longer have to maintain complex, heterogeneous technology environments. Focus will shift from the technology itself to the core competencies and mission of the agency,” he wrote.

Currently, federal agency servers operate at a capacity much lower than private industry worldwide, with 27 percent manufacturing capacity utilization, compared to a 79 percent average across the European Union, France, Germany, the United States, Brazil and Canada, Kundra said in his presentation on the report.

He said the federal government’s IT environment “is characterized by low asset utilization, a fragmented demand for resources, duplicative systems, environments which are dif­ficult to manage, and long procurement lead times. The cloud computing model can significantly help agencies grappling with the need to provide highly reliable, innovative services quickly despite resource constraints.”

The report is an expansion of the administration’s cloud policy in its "25-Point Implementation Plan to Reform Federal IT Management," released in December. In it, Kundra defines cloud computing, outlines a migration framework and strategies, and cites examples and resources.

About the Author

Kathleen Hickey is a freelance writer for GCN.

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Reader Comments

Wed, Feb 23, 2011 Anton DC

What a misguided approach. Where is the risk assessment? Where is the planning for collaboration? Where is the architecture to make sure it all interoperates? Why isn't the fantastic work done by the CIOs and Enterprise Architects used to do the planning? Ohh never mind, me Kundra will be gone in less than 22 months and I don't care what happens after that. His approach is deja vu form 40 years ago. Even then blind application of new technology was never the answer. A concerned citizen whose money is being wasted again and again!

Tue, Feb 22, 2011

I'm not sure where Kundra is getting his numbers. The savings sound more like personal opinion. We should look at all of our IT systems and how we do business and plan to improve, but this cannot be accomplished in the timeframe he is proposing. Cloud is not for everyone. Agencies that are highly scientific and heavy into industrial control systems don't fit the cloud model. Many agencies contract out, therefore some of the data centers or server rooms counted and specific to a contractor. Your not going to change that easily as it requires a contract modification and additional costs the contractor did not consider in their proposal. The reason for many of the extra server rooms is the outsourcing that has gone on in the past. Even if you were to consolidate some applications from these rooms, you still need the server room/data center to service the desktop including all the enviromental controls. In addition additional funds will be necessary to upgrade the Internet connection as the current bandwidth will not meet the demand when the applications are moved offsight, off setting any savings. This is complex and pulling percentages out of the air isn't going to get it done. This will take some thought,some engineering and funding to support the additional enginering in these days of shrinking budgets. IT staffs are currently just keeping their heads above water. Again, should be looked at and a plan of action developed taking into consideration budget constraints and what makes sense.

Tue, Feb 22, 2011 Jack in the cloud

Interesting, has anyone done a long term cost study of the cloud? Remember that you are getting what you pay for, DR and COOP are typically NOT included. The basic premise of the cloud is it's speed and flexibility, I agree that you can't beat that. However, long term, you are just renting/leasing resources. Take a typical DELL Server CPU, Mem, and disk space and buy it. then compare how much it would cost to lease "cloud" equivalent resources for 3 to 5 years. I'm pretty sure that cloud will be MUCH more expensive.

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