White House dives into IT savings “cloud first”

Facing an estimated federal deficit of $1.3 trillion dollars, the Obama Administration has been looking to find ways to trim budgets and reduce government spending however possible.

The situation has gotten so bad, that this week the president asked for a federal employee pay freeze. This would save $2 billion for the remainder of this fiscal year, $28 billion over the next five years and $60 billion over the next decade.

With the state of government budgets so dire, it’s no surprise that the administration and its tech team are working hard to push agencies to adopt cost saving technologies. This is why just a few weeks ago, Jeffrey Zients, the deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), announced that the White House would put programs in place in the 2012 budget that would call for agencies to embrace cloud computing over the in-house creation of new data centers.

These programs would mean that every time new IT development is needed, federal agencies would have to look at cloud-based solutions whenever possible. This is a huge step forward for the federal government, which is currently operating more than 2,000 date centers, 1,000 of which were previously “lost”. Even worse, many of them are operating far under capacity.

By forcing government agencies to first consider cloud solutions for their IT infrastructure, the government could see significant savings over time since the creation of new datacenters would require initial investment and subsequent maintenance, support and power to operate. But it’s not enough to make a dent in existing government IT spending.

To truly have an impact on the government IT budget bottom line, the federal government is also looking to prioritize the virtualization and consolidation of existing datacenters. By shifting these datacenters into the cloud, the federal government could save a significant amount of tax dollars on recurring power, support and hardware costs.

They would also see an increase in flexibility that would allow them to increase and decrease bandwidth based on current conditions. This would decrease downtime and allow them to avoid purchasing additional and potentially extraneous hardware to handle temporary spikes in traffic.

I applaud the Obama Administration, Jeffrey Zients and the White House’s tech team for taking steps towards increased cloud adoption in the federal government. These new programs should hopefully drive new IT development to the cloud and work to decrease government spending over time. The drive to virtualize and consolidate existing, under-utilized datacenters by 40 percent will ultimately maximize government IT savings.

With enough money saved on IT expenses and hardware, the Administration may even be able to cancel plans for the federal employee pay freeze. After all, it is the holidays!

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2 Responses

  1. [...] my last post, I discussed a speech given by Jeffrey Zients, the deputy director of the Office of Management and [...]

  2. [...] As we’ve discussed in the past, Obama’s technology team, including Vivek Kundra, the country’s CIO, is looking for ways in which the federal government can improve its IT acquisition process and adopt technologies that can make the government operate more effectively and efficiently. [...]

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