by clicking on the page. A slider will appear, allowing you to adjust your zoom level. Return to the original size by clicking on the page again.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider on the top right.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field and click on "In This Issue" or "All Issues" to search the current issue or the archive of back issues respectively.
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
this publication and page.
displays a table of sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays thumbnails of every page in the issue. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse through every available issue.
GCN : June 2013
TODAY'S ACCEPTED wisdom is that the federal government is steadily expanding its use of cloud-based computing. But the reality is a bit di erent. Al- though the long-term growth potential for government cloud solutions remains high, we are currently experiencing a significant lull. Many federal agencies will spend less money on cloud so- lutions during fiscal 2013 than they did in 2012. The reasons for the slowdown range from sequestration to challenges relating to closing large data centers. According to the O ce of Management and Budget, federal spending on software as a service (SaaS) will drop from $764.8 million in fiscal 2012 to $739.8 million in fis- cal 2013. Platform as a service (PaaS) spending will drop from $317.3 million to $315.1 million. The bright spot right now for the federal government is infrastructure as a service (IaaS), which should jump 20 percent between this year and 2014, from $ 1.0 billion to over $1.2 billion. This makes government di erent than most industries. For most com- mercial firms, SaaS solutions, particularly stand-alone ap- plications, are by far the largest slice of cloud spending. Here s a good way to picture the di erence between IaaS and PaaS. IaaS essentially rents computing resources so that agencies do not have to purchase their own. This can include servers, storage, WHY GOVERNMENT'S MOVE TO THE CLOUD HAS GONE STAGNANT INTERNAUT BY SHAWN McCARTHY GCN JUNE 2013 • GCN.COM 17 networks and such. PaaS like- wise supplants formal capital ownership, but it includes the capability to deploy --- into the cloud --- end-user created (or purchased). So why is the government preference so starkly di erent, with its strong preference for IaaS? Consider the history. Government has long worked with third-party inte- grators to build complex sys- tems. Just think of the defense and space communications networks built by companies like Boeing Satellite Systems and Lockheed Martin. IaaS so- lutions already are a high pri- ority for government agencies because this arrangement gets agencies out of the business of building and managing net- works and complex systems. Instead the agencies can focus on managing applications that are unique to them. On the software side, most government applications were built for unique government needs. Consider the Agricul- ture Department s Water and Climate Information System or the Labor Department s Unemployment Insurance Da- tabase Management System. Good luck finding a cloud provider who can o er these as COTS cloud solutions. As for types of clouds, federal private cloud spending currently outnumbers public cloud spending about 20 to one. Government has unique security needs, such as FIPS compliance for civilian agen- cies and DIACAP certification for Defense organizations. Government also needs to work with trusted partners in highly controlled environ- ments. For that reason, private cloud solutions will be the clear preference for the next several years. Among agencies, the Trea- sury Department has stepped most heavily into the public cloud space, working with Amazon s EC2 cloud for its main website, and some types of hosted content manage- ment. The Justice Department also has been a leader in exploring community cloud solutions. A community cloud is when multiple agencies or multiple levels of government share a hosted solution. This makes sense for Justice, considering how the department needs to share information and databases with all states and literally thousands of local jurisdictions. And Social Security Admin- istration is a federal leader in both IaaS and PaaS. The agency works with a variety of vendors for solutions such as identity proofing and manage- ment, hosted storage and an online knowledgebase. For the long term, fis- cal 2014 is likely to show continued cloud stagnation. OMB has stated that cloud spending could actually drop by a couple of percentage points. However, we expect to see slow but healthy recovery beyond that year. Large sus- tainable cloud growth could finally happen for the federal government starting in fiscal 2015. IaaS will continue to grow, and it looks like hosted SaaS will finally catch fire, as government application stan- dardization e orts take hold. The federal government clearly isn t the fastest out of the gate when it comes to adopting cloud solutions, but it is quietly making a coordi- nated e ort to move toward cloud in a logical way, by first getting its own house in order and standardizing its approach to commodity cloud solutions. It may be a frustrating wait, but the outcome should be powerful and financially significant. Just wait a year or two. • --- Shawn McCarthy is research director for IDC Gov- ernment Insights. Despite a spending lull, a move to the cloud in a logical way should pay big dividends for agencies after 2014.