IDC handicaps gov IaaS market

IDC handicaps gov IaaS market

Facing skyrocketing data growth and tight budgets, government agencies are looking to the cloud to move their workloads to lower cost infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) platforms.

To do so, they will rely on a group of about a dozen IT firms with different strengths and strategies for competing in the market. In a recent MarketScape report, IDC handicapped the competitors, noting that they all started on a demanding playing field.

“Massive investments in technologies, facilities, operational personnel and tools and best practices are the table stakes for vendors participating in this market,” according to the report, “IDC MarketScape U.S. Government Private Cloud IaaS 2014 Vendor Assessment” (November 2014, IDC #252460).

IDC looked at 12 firms that met four criteria, including: maintained their status in FedRAMP security certifications; generated at least $1 billion in revenue in the IT services market; had a clear presence in the federal IT services market; and could cite at least two reference customers that had implemented IaaS in the federal government.

Amazon Web Services won a positive assessment, with IDC noting the company had made significant investments in complying with federal cloud security requirements, including being the first vendor to receive an Agency Authorization to Operate from the Health and Human Services Department. AWS was also the firm, “with the ability to take any and all of DoD’s unclassified data to the cloud,” IDC said.

In assessing IBM, IDC said the firm’s strategy involved delivering end-to-end solutions, “offering customers a step-by-step deployment road map” how to transition from traditional IT environments to private, public or hybrid clouds.

Acknowledging IBM’s acquisition of cloud and managed hosting firm SoftLayer, IDC said the deal offered IBM a strategic advantage in providing one of the most advanced automation layers in the IaaS market. “Through its acquisition and investments, IBM is now managing lots of moving parts,” said IDC. “The challenge for IBM will be how fast the U.S. government market can move for IBM to receive a return on its major investments.”

Adelaide O’Brien, research director of IDC Government Insights, said “government decision makers should review their strategic plans and select vendors for their IaaS based on best fit."

"If there isn't confidence in a prospective vendor's ability to securely meet projected capacity requirements in a timely fashion, with the capability (often through partners and alliances) to meet future needs through deployment of proven best practices, then it's time to look elsewhere."

IaaS services firms covered in the IDC report include AWS, Accenture, AT&T, CenturyLink, CGI, CSC, Dell, HP, IBM, Microsoft, Unisys and Verizon.

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