10 Ways Government Clouds Have Changed This Year - InformationWeek
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10 Ways Government Clouds Have Changed This Year

Learn how 2013's cloud predictions are quickly unfolding for government CIOs.

5. Major data centers will go undergo a "survival-of-the-fittest" scenario.

Winners will emerge in the data center shakeout, as many large data centers will close and sell assets, or become acquired and consolidate. Ironically, the cloud movement spawned a "gold rush" to build new data centers at a time when the stated goal of the cloud was to reduce the number of data centers. The market is maturing, and the ultimate result will be a "survival-of-the-fittest" scenario as many legacy data centers will shut their doors, and many data center customers will decide to move some of their data to the cloud. Cloud services brokerages will play a larger role for data center service providers to help their customers sort out the confusion and effectively manage an increasing number of cloud service providers.

Update: Data center consolidation continues unabated. Mega-sized data centers will be augmented by smaller, regional centers. These regional centers will mainly provide caching and local storage services. Government agencies will feel ever-increasing pressure to divest themselves of government owned data centers.

6. Health IT will adopt PaaS to replace niche "dinosaur" apps.

The problem with health IT is that the enterprise systems have grown too large to merely replace, but there are limits to what they can do. For the healthcare industry to move forward and achieve the goals set out in the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH), the cloud must play a major role in the next generation of healthcare IT. Healthcare CIOs are looking at how much it will cost to upgrade their HITECH-compliant systems -- and they are finding that proprietary models will leave them with unfavorable lock-in, while others in the healthcare industry embracing the cloud march forward.

Update: With Obamacare scheduled to take full effect in 2014, next year will be a major transition year for the healthcare industry, businesses, government and consumers on the health insurance front, along with health-related technologies. SaaS, PaaS and IaaS governance within the healthcare industry will be an important challenge. Protecting digital health information also will be a must. Secure cloud-services integration and the robust protection of digital health information must both be accomplished to enable health information exchanges. CIOs will look to real-world case studies for guidance for the remainder of 2013.

7. Organizations will rapidly adopt cloud services brokerages.

The need to use multiple cloud services providers to manage multiple functions will create a fast adoption of the cloud-services brokerage model: either via a new internal role within organizations, or an external source, like the NJVC Cloudcuity Management Portal offered by my firm, or services like it. The new role of cloud services brokerages will be further defined and evolve over the next five years to provide niche services to organizations moving to the cloud, but also from the realization that buyers will require the use of more than one cloud services provider.

Update: Cloud services brokerage and cloud access security brokers are emerging as vital and complementary services. IT departments are currently struggling with learning these skills internally or partnering externally for these services. Management tools for this multi-sourcing environment are essential. To best deal with the new paradigm of hybrid IT, government security policies also will need to be reviewed and updated to manage the transition from infrastructure-centric to data-centric security postures.

8. The U.S. government will rethink major IT contracts.

Large system integrators, whose success long depended on very expensive, highly complex and customized, on-premises solutions, will redefine their practices and their overall operating and profit models, especially as more businesses go beyond basic, "out-of-the-box" cloud services and turn to the cloud for more customized implementations. U.S. government agencies will begin to add new requirements to several major IT contracts. The federal government is in many ways leading the path toward the cloud. In 2013 there will be a shakeup in government contracting practices. Incumbent system integrators will no longer be able to rest on past successes, as the government continues to transform itself and move toward the cloud, and as new cloud service providers offer innovative and cost-effective solutions geared specifically to the federal marketplace.

Update: Federal agencies are moving away from large omnibus contracts toward shorter-term, performance-based vehicles, according to the latest research from Gartner. This move is expected to reduce the strength of incumbent federal system integrators and spur them to transform their business models and solution offerings. Limited funding and sequestration are contributing to this trend.

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User Rank: Author
9/17/2013 | 5:02:22 PM
re: 10 Ways Government Clouds Have Changed This Year
Kevin, I agree with your emphasis on point 3. Do you see any early leaders for govt IT community among providers in this space?
User Rank: Author
9/17/2013 | 7:18:22 PM
re: 10 Ways Government Clouds Have Changed This Year
There are many good points in this article. On the emergence of cloud brokers, it would seem there will two types: One type will focus on supply and demand needs and perform a pricing and arbitrage role. The other is a more technical broker, who performs the technical work to move data into and out different clouds. Do you see that distinction becoming more pronounced, or more blurred?
User Rank: Strategist
9/18/2013 | 12:38:43 AM
re: 10 Ways Government Clouds Have Changed This Year
Point 5: I don't think it was ever the goal, exactly, of cloud proponents to reduce the number of data centers. Granted, it was a goal of federal IT managers to reduce the total number of federal data centers. But look at the growth in smart phone use -- where do people think all those apps are running? On their phones? No, they're in a cloud data center, and lots of data centers have been needed to power those apps, On the other hand, moving bits around is more efficient than people searching store to store for the item they want, or finding the next coffee bar they visit.
User Rank: Author
9/18/2013 | 2:06:42 AM
re: 10 Ways Government Clouds Have Changed This Year
I don't have data on it, but I haven't seen & heard a lot of healthcare IT activity in PaaS -- or even the more basic IaaS. Even if secure exchange gets stronger, I suspect healthcare to move more slowly than other indsutries to cloud platforms. Might not move til there are healthcare-centric cloud infrastructure.

UPMC CIO recently talked about the coming need for it due to huge data growth (genomics, images, e-records). Here's a link: http://www.informationweek.com...
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