Obama banks on cloud, consolidation, to hold down IT costs
White House budget plan would keep federal IT spending close to fiscal 2010 levels
Computerworld - WASHINGTON - With Congress in the mood to cut spending, the federal budget proposed by President Barack Obama relies heavily on cloud computing and data center consolidation to keep IT costs under control.
The Obama administration's 2012 federal budget proposal sets aside $79.5 billion for IT spending for fiscal 2012, which begins Oct. 1.
This proposal would increase IT spending by 1.9% compared to fiscal 2010. The current fiscal year's IT spending remains a work in progress as the federal government operates under Continuing Resolutions. The latest resolution gives it enough money to operate through March 4.
The administration says it's able to keep IT spending essentially flat at least partly because of projected savings of $3 billion-plus from IT consolidation and a planned shift to cloud computing technologies.
The White House has been setting the new IT direction over the past year, and in recent months started putting hard numbers to the plan.
In December, the administration announced plans to close more than 800 of the government's 2,100 data centers by 2015.
Earlier this month, federal CIO Vivek Kundra released a report outlining a "cloud first" strategy for federal agencies.
Kundra estimates that the federal government could shift some $20 billion of IT spending to cloud computing platforms.
Kundra's report said the government "will be able to reduce our data center infrastructure expenditure by approximately 30%" through cloud computing.
Ray Bjorklund, a vice president at consulting firm Federal Sources in McLean, Va., questioned Kundra's savings estimate, noting that it is based on commercial sector studies that he is skeptical "will really apply to the government."
Commercial businesses can act quickly on IT changes, said Bjorklund, but government agencies have statutory requirements and are so complex that "trying to wave your wand and say we are going to achieve 30% savings is not that simple."
Bjorklund added that data center consolidation is a potentially long process, and he wondered whether the government "IT workforce is ready, willing, capable and able execute on that, to meet that timeline."
The federal budget discusses investment in "light technologies," which Deniece Peterson, an analyst at government market research firm Input in Reston, Va., said can be essentially defined as cloud services, but may include virtualization and Services-Oriented Architectures that are also part of an underlying cloud foundation.
Peterson also analyzed the budget in a blog post.
Instead of offering a significant amount of new funding for new technologies, this is a budget "that requires reprioritization and reprogramming of dollars," said Peterson.
Kundra has set the priorities and by establishing cloud as a top direction. "Other less-critical programs will either see cuts, smaller growth than anticipated or be simply put on the shelf to be addressed when those savings are eventually reinvested in projects with clearer, more defined ROI," said Peterson.
Patrick Thibodeau covers SaaS and enterprise applications, outsourcing, government IT policies, data centers and IT workforce issues for Computerworld. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @DCgov, or subscribe to Patrick's RSS feed . His e-mail address is email@example.com.
Read more about Government IT in Computerworld's Government IT Topic Center.
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
If you use ‘password,’ one the worst passwords, as your password, fail to keep antivirus protection updated and don’t bother to deploy security patches to close critical vulnerabilities, then maybe you should consider working for the cybersecurity-clueless federal government; you’d fit right in, according to Senator Tom Coburn's cybersecurity and critical infrastructure report.
- IT Certification Study Tips
- Register for this Computerworld Insider Study Tip guide and gain access to hundreds of premium content articles, cheat sheets, product reviews and more.
- Changing the Way Government Works: Four Technology Trends that Drive Down Costs and Increase Productivity
- This paper discusses four technology-based approaches to improving processes and increasing
productivity while driving down department and agency costs.
- Pay-as-you-Grow Data Protection: IBM Tivoli's Full-featured Data Protection Suite for Small to Medium Businesses
- IBM Tivoli Storage Manager Suite for Unified Recovery gives small and medium businesses the opportunity to start out with only the individual solutions...
- Streamline Data Protection with IBM Tivoli Storage Manager Operations Center
- IBM Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) has been an industry-standard data protection solution for two decades. But, where most competitors focus exclusively on Backup...
- Simplify and Consolidate Data Protection for Better Business Results
- Learn about IBM® Tivoli® Storage Manager Operations Center, which provides advanced visualization, built-in analytics and integrated workflow automation features that leapfrog traditional backup...
- HP HAVEn: See the big picture in Big Data
- HP HAVEn is the industry's first comprehensive, scalable, open, and secure platform for Big Data. Enterprises are drowning in a sea of data... All Government IT White Papers
- Meg Whitman presents Unlocking IT with Big Data During this Web Event you will hear Meg Whitman, President and CEO, HP discuss HAVEn - the #1 Big Data platform, as well...
- The New Way to Work Knowledge Vault This Knowledge Vault focuses on how, in today's increasingly virtual world, it's more important than ever to engage deeply with employees, suppliers, partners,...
- Getting Ready for BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10.2 Find out how BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10 helps organizations address the full spectrum of EMM challenges, while balancing the needs of both the...
- Containerization Options: How to Choose the Best DLP Solution for Your Organization This webcast outlines a framework for making the right choice when it comes to containerization approaches, along with the pros and cons of...
- Mobile Apps and Devices Slash Customer Cycle Time Consolidated Engineering Laboratories' field employees used to collect data on triplicate forms that were sometimes hard to read and difficult to manage. After...
- All Government IT Webcasts