Environmental Protection Agency moves to Microsoft 365, adds to stream of government agencies choosing cloud-based email and collaboration services.
(click image for larger view)
Slideshow: Top 20 Government Cloud Service Providers
In what has become a regular occurrence, another federal agency is moving its email and collaboration to a cloud computing platform. The Environmental Protection Agency announced Wednesday that it has signed a deal to move to Microsoft Office 365.
The EPA expects that the move will save it about $12 million over four years by moving approximately 25,000 employees from the agency’s current on-premises email system to Office 365 over the next several months. The agency will complete its migration by early next year, according to Microsoft.
The new email deal will cost the EPA $9.8 million. As part of the deal, Lockheed Martin -- a long-time contractor for the EPA -- will handle systems integrator duties by managing the move and providing engineering and integration services. Lockheed has provided cloud services to federal agencies for several years.
According to a recent survey of federal IT pros by InformationWeek Government, more than half of federal agencies have identified use cases for cloud services.
Google, meanwhile, has been just as successful in snatching up government customers for Google Apps. Among those customers are the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the General Services Administration, the Department of the Interior, the state of Wyoming, and the city of Los Angeles.
The fight for government customers has been so intense that competition has been strained at times. For example, that competition spilled over into a court battle that stretched throughout 2010 and 2011, though the case was eventually settled.
Office 365 for Government delivers productivity and collaboration services such as Exchange Online, Lync Online, SharePoint Online, and Office Professional Plus. Google Apps for Government includes Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Docs, and Google Sites. IBM and Zimbra also offer cloud email and collaboration services to government.
Agencies no longer even have to get their email through the private sector. In August, the General Services Administration announced contracts with 17 tech companies and federal contractors through which federal, state, local, and tribal agencies can receive cloud-based email services from Google, Microsoft, IBM, and the open-source Zimbra.
More than half of federal agencies are saving money with cloud computing, but security, compatibility, and skills present huge problems, according to our survey. Also in the Cloud Business Case issue of InformationWeek Government: President Obama's record on IT strategy is long on vision but short on results. (Free registration required.)
2014 Next-Gen WAN SurveyWhile 68% say demand for WAN bandwidth will increase, just 15% are in the process of bringing new services or more capacity online now. For 26%, cost is the problem. Enter vendors from Aryaka to Cisco to Pertino, all looking to use cloud to transform how IT delivers wide-area connectivity.
Server Market SplitsvilleJust because the server market's in the doldrums doesn't mean innovation has ceased. Far from it -- server technology is enjoying the biggest renaissance since the dawn of x86 systems. But the primary driver is now service providers, not enterprises.