US says ‘cloud first’ for government IT from 2012

29 Nov 2010

In a move that looks likely to boost support for cloud computing, the US federal government has said all IT projects from 2012 onwards will have a “cloud-first” policy.

The Office of Management and Budget has an annual budget of US$80bn and its chief performance officer Jeffrey Zients blogged last week that the move aims to “fundamentally change” how the administration buys and uses IT.

It’s part of a reform strategy aimed at cutting waste and saving money, with a broader aim that dovetails with President Barack Obama’s accountable government strategy. This is intended to ensure that future technology projects don’t fall victim to the usual obstacles of running over budget, behind schedule, or failing to deliver promised benefits, said Zients.

Quoted subsequently on US Federal News Radio, he spelled out the plan even more plainly: “What this means is that going forward, when evaluating options for new IT deployments, OMB will require that agencies default to cloud-based solutions whenever a secure, reliable, cost-effective cloud option exists.”

Under the heading of Light Technologies and Shared Solutions, the US Government has targeted a 40pc reduction in data centre space by 2015. “Consolidating more than 2,000 government data centres will save money, increase security and improve performance,” Zients said.

Meanwhile, the UK government has also come out in favour of cloud computing. The Minister for Communications Ed Vaizey was reported as saying the technology provides “real economic benefits” for businesses and the public. According to Computerworld UK, Vaizey also said that co-operation between industry, consumers and governments would be needed to ensure privacy and data security concerns are addressed.

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Gordon Smith was a contributor to Silicon Republic