Can the U.S. Government Help Cloud Computing Reach a Tipping Point?

15 thoughts on “Can the U.S. Government Help Cloud Computing Reach a Tipping Point?”

  1. This may bode well for the government cloud but consumers will never reach that tipping point particularly with big brother leading the way. Personally (holding up hand,) No thanks.

  2. Cloud computing is another technology that is more hype than reality. The truth is that most people don’t want it.

    You can tell when people want a new technology because the snatch it up when it is still crude and keep buying any little improvement on it. For example, coloured graphics: back when it was just 8 colours and blocky, people thought it was wonderful. And when it went to 16 colours, people bought new computers just for the graphics. Even today when there is not much difference between them, consideration of the graphics card is a major part of the computer-buying decision.

    Not so with cloud computing. If it is as wonderful as its proponents claim, people would have already move en masse over to it. The reason why anyone is still talking about it is that some software companies see it as a way to lock-in the suckers customers. Getting the government to back a technology that few of the public wants is just a waste of money and effort.

    1. Shawn – you’re old man. People search ‘en masse’ with Google – cloud computing. People make purchases via Amazon ‘en masse’ – cloud computing. Salesforce.com is a billion dollar company – counting cloud customers and revenues ‘en masse’. Yahoo Mail and GMail are two of the most popular cloud computing email services in the world – no doubt, ‘en masse’. Gotten directions lately – Google Maps … hmm, maybe – cloud computing ‘en masse’. Vendor lock-in is no different from on premise – either case you would need to go through the steps of porting and normalizing data, business process, workflows, etc. Moving from Salesforce to another platform is no more difficult than moving from an Oracle environment to MSFT – since you don’t have to worry about infrastructure, the case can be made that it is even easier.

      As a government, business, organization, or individual; cloud computing allows one to leverage the best services possible. One does not have to make large capital investments in software, hardware, maintenance, or upgrades – you pay for what you use, no more no less, and you are always on the most up to date version. With cloud computing any mom and pop shop has the same access to state of the art technologies as the largest enterprise. Want to end the recession – have every small business move from Exchange and Office to Google Apps.

      Mr. Malik – I enjoyed your article, thank you. You seem to suggest that MSFT is not a traditional supplier. For the sake of competition hopefully Azure is a robust platform, but Amazon, Salesforce, Google and others are nearly a decade into their cloud computing adventure. MSFT’s 2008 Annual Report didn’t mention one specific Software+Services (note, not SaaS) product while the client/server cash cows, X-boxes, and Zunes are obviously areas of focus. MSFT could transform itself into cloud computing powerhouse, but for all their marketing talk they are currently still a very traditional, legacy provider with a very immature cloud offering that has yet to be tested in the marketplace. Just as Google’s announcement of Chrome OS does not make it a desktop player yet, the imminent arrival of Azure does not make MSFT a cloud computing company yet – ‘yet’ the key word in both instances.

  3. Shawn, do a little research, you will find that organizations are moving to the cloud en masse. Merril Lynch predicts value of cloud marketplace to be > $160 Billion by 2011.

    Gartner projects that Software as a Service (Saas) cloud computing will continue to grow at an annual compound growth rate of more than 22% in the same period.

  4. In my personal view

    Pro:
    a) There is a business case if one has temp computing need over permanent/eternal.
    b) Auto-scalability [if there is such thing] another sale-able point, where it is unpredictable on upper side that how much computing resources would be needed.

    Con:
    a) Not cost effective if one has permanent/eternal computing infrastructure needs. You may still outsource to traditional hosting companies, if you do not have internal resources. It is about choosing between traditional hosting (Data Center centric) and Cloud Computing on cost point of view. Traditional Hosting companies can provide scalable solution for a predictable needs.
    b) One has to adapt thought process of Cloud Computing mindset, which is not easy or a has steep learning curve. It is not yet consumer friendly. That is not the case when choosing any traditional hosting company.
    c) If you are thinking to migrate [any] existing application running in production environment – Cloud Computing is not a right choice. There is cost factor in transforming the system or application to specific Cloud Computing eco-system.
    d) I do not think one can still move application/system between among various Clouds as all has their own distinct unique eco-system. And that is not the case when you use traditional hosting company. You can easily change camps without being captive.

  5. If they can offload non-sensitive material like regulations, library of congress material, plain old informational websites, etc. (which is I suspect most of their material) , they can probably save millions — which could be invested elsewhere to upgrade the overall computing infrastructure. Having worked in the government many years ago i can tell you tehir hardware is generally years out of date.

    I agree there’s no way you would ever want any sensitive info in the cloud.

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