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Guest Post – The Cloud in the Public Sector: Is it real or is it myth?

Blogger Bio

Jim Sweeney has more than 35 years of experience in the development and integration of a broad range of enterprise IT applications and technologies. He has held several roles including technical, sales and marketing positions over his career. For the last four years, Jim has served as the Manager of the Virtualization and Cloud Computing Consulting Practice at GTSI, working with different federal, state and local agencies on a variety of technical solutions primarily focused in the areas of server, desktop, application virtualization as well as storage virtualization and consolidation. He just finished a book titled “Get your head in the clouds” discussing the relevance of the cloud for the public sector in detail, with scores of real life implementaions.


There has been a lot of hype over the last year about Cloud Computing (not to mention Big Data, and a whole host of other topics, but that’s another blog post). But has there been more than talk? Vendors are jumping on the bandwagon left and right and now even Oracle has announced that they are in the public and private IaaS Cloud business.(see my latest blog post for GTSI). But what about customers? Are they just listening at the moment or is there real movement to implement real Cloud solutions in the public sector?

Well I am happy to report that the answer is a resounding “Yes”. There are real customers at real agencies that have already adopted the Cloud for one or more services. AWS announced this morning at their annual Federal Conference that there are over 300 agencies already using them. They spent a lot of the day trying to clear up the misconceptions surrounding Cloud. In fact, this is the purpose of my new book on Cloud, entitled: “Get Your Head in the Cloud: Unraveling the Mystery for Public Sector”. Actually the purpose is two fold:

1. Clear up all the FUD that is out there as to the types of Cloud and the various deployment models of Cloud. I make it simple for even the non-technical folks out there to understand.

2. Give real examples of customers at all levels of the public sector, federal, state and local, that have already made use of this exciting new technology. Here are just a couple of examples:

a. Many people are afraid of the Cloud. But the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab jumped right in. You see, they figured they were going to get blamed anyway if their customers went around them to the Cloud and had it blow up in their faces, so they took a proactive approach. You’ll have to read the book to get the whole story but suffice it to say that there are 180,000 images of Mars now sitting in the Amazon public Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) Cloud.

b. Lot of people throw “Security” as a reason for not going to the public Cloud. But that is exactly one of the challenges that the Department of Labor overcame when they outsourced their entire Financial Management system to a Software as a Service (SaaS) provider, GCE. Not only did they immediately see returns but all of the auditing problems they had before the transition were gone!

c. Finally, let me say a word about the agencies that have announced their intention to move to a SaaS email provider, some to Microsoft and their Office 365 Cloud and some to Google and their Gmail offering. This is a great move by the various agencies. While we have to wait for some of the final numbers the case study in the book, State of Minnesota, has already seen tremendous savings in both dollars and headaches by moving to the new system.

Finally, let me say a word about HyperOffice. Over 200,000 customers now use their SaaS product as a replacement for Microsoft Office. Can you imagine not having to handle the installation, configuration and patching of all of your various versions of Office Suites out there today? Their technology really does make it easy for you. And by moving to a SaaS provider like HyperOffice you are one step closer to that other technology that is getting a lot of press recently, BYOD (Bring Your own Device).

The Cloud is here. The Cloud is now. It is not right for every service that IT provides to its customers, but with budget cuts looming and staffs that are already overworked, Cloud can provide monetary savings as well as relief for your current IT staff.

As always, thanks for reading.

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More Stories By Pankaj Taneja

An MBA by qualification, Pankaj Taneja has more than six years of experience in the SaaS and web collaboration industries. Having seen SaaS grow from a niche sector to the next big thing in enterprise technology, he has a great enthusiasm and passion for the sphere. Pankaj has been working for many years at HyperOffice, one of the earliest players in web collaboration since 1998, an industry which now includes solutions from Google, Microsoft, IBM, Cisco, Oracle, Adobe and more. It is amazing being part of a pioneer in collaboration, riding a wave which only promises to grow.