Research: Federal Government Cloud Computing Survey

Apr 07, 2011


Research: Federal Government Cloud Computing Survey

In February, InformationWeek Government and InformationWeek Analytics surveyed federal IT pros to gauge their agencies’ plans for cloud computing. Our 2011 Federal Government Cloud Computing Survey shows a big jump in the use of cloud services, with 29% of respondents indicating that their agencies are using cloud services, up ten points from a year ago. Another 29% say their agencies will tap into the cloud within 12 months, which means that cloud adoption should surpass the 50% mark at some point in the year ahead.

The Obama administration in December announced a “cloud first” policy, requiring agencies to use cloud services where  possible for new IT requirements. Cloud computing is also an enabling technology, an alternative to continued investment in systems and software, as agencies look to eliminate 800 data centers as part of the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative. With the prospect of decreasing budgets, agencies must find ways to direct limited funds to their core mission work. In our survey, lowering IT costs was the No. 1 business driver of cloud computing, mentioned by 62% of respondents. It’s important that agencies perform their own cost assessments because private clouds and public clouds may not always be a cheaper alternative.

Security is the biggest concern with cloud computing, with 77% of respondents indicating it’s an issue moving forward.

Private clouds are the preferred model in government, with 46% of respondents using or “highly likely” to use private clouds. But agencies are also looking to plug into cloud services outside of their data centers, and 27% say it’s highly likely that they will do that through a government portal such as

For years, federal IT organizations have been focused on asset management, not service management. Contract officers need to establish thresholds for cloud use and put those limits in writing in the funding vehicle. Effective capacity planning  and updated procurement processes are needed for cloud computing to become widely adopted. The move requires a shift from managing assets to managing services, but many agencies still don’t have a service catalog. As agencies get deeper into cloud computing, they will need to create a service catalog to develop a complete picture of their IT services portfolios.

Agencies are still in a learning mode with cloud computing. It’s important to develop a road map and business case to evaluate which workloads make sense for the cloud and to integrate that into your broader IT strategy. (R2600311)

Survey Name: InformationWeek Analytics/InformationWeek Government 2011 Federal Government Cloud Computing Survey
Survey Date: February 2011
Region: United States
Number of Respondents: 137

Research Report