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Cloud computing: Seriously, now, what's the point?

The federal government’s infatuation with cloud computing will go nowhere until agencies come up with real-life business case for the technology, according to one reader at GovLoop.

The reader was responding to a topic posted as part of the FCW Challenge, a joint FCW-GovLoop project to spark debate about key topics in the federal IT community.

Our thesis was that a mandate for the cloud is just wishing for pie in the sky. Although federal CIO Vivek Kundra wants every agency to jump into the cloud, he doesn’t really have the incentives—or sanctions—he needs to make this happen.

Srinidhi Boray agreed.

“Why engage with solution, when the problem has not been defined accurately,” Boray wrote. “Some of the agencies have also concluded that the cost savings, cost avoidance for IT portfolio cannot be established. This is despite the fact that agencies had earlier engaged Gartner wasting millions of dollars to conduct IT Optimization studies…. When agencies can successfully establish demonstrable clear cost savings and cost avoidance argument, cloud computing as a solution achieving ‘economy of scale’ driven by design considerations might be the inevitable choice.”

What do you think? Check out the conversation about cloud computing here.

You can also read more about the FCW Challenge here.

Here are the other topics up for debate:

Government social networks are Towers of Babel, doomed to topple.

The Open-Government Plan is Vaporware 2.0.

Acquisition 2.0 will give ethics officers the heebie-jeebies.

The federal workplace will never change. Telework? Fuggedaboudit!

Cybersecurity: This is a job for McGruff the Crime Dog.

Posted on May 11, 2010 at 12:18 PM

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Reader comments

Wed, May 12, 2010 washington fed DC

No one wants to be the guinea pig for the ill defined Kundra cloud. We saw the BEP article last week about how their websites that were outsourced to a 3rd party cloud got hacked and infected with sophisticated malware and had to be taken down after they infected many website visitors. identifying the root casue and remediating appears to have been quite a difficult undertaking. Who needs the headache?

Wed, May 12, 2010

We can't even be sure that everyone is talking about the same technology when "cloud computing" is the topic of discussion. This is just another silver bullet. Hey Kundra – you start coding while I see what the customer wants!

Wed, May 12, 2010

Business case? Are you kidding? The case has been clearly defined by Directors, CFO's, CIO's, and Program Managers: inordinate cost of current IT operations, lack of innovation to keep pace with today's technology cycles, and employees who choose to use other tools available on the web just so then can get their jobs done faster and be more productive. If information sharing and collaboration is such a high priority, secure web-based tools perform this function much better than legacy desktop apps. Look at the billions the federal government is spending just providing common IT services, not to mention trying to refresh the desktops/laptops every year.

Wed, May 12, 2010 Erich Darr

DISA has been doing "cloud" computing on on the mainframes it maintains for DoD for some time. It's a secure environment and it works within DoD. Having private companies or governemnt and private companies share a mid-tier server creates security issues that I don't believe either are prepared to deal with at this time.

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