Feds Begin Race to the Cloud

Agencies are now grappling with the hard realities of making the 'cloud first' policy work.

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Kingsberry says he thinks the government should act faster. "Federal still doesn't move at the pace that it can. There's risk aversion throughout it. And because of that, there isn't going to be this massive move," he says. "But this is a journey, and there are steps. There will be stop points, and right now this is one of the stop points. The next step is for federal as a whole to embrace and understand the performance characteristics for actually making this move."

But Rosen says the move to cloud computing shouldn't be thought of as a race. "My approach is, let's start with something simple, something we can encapsulate, and start with that and then move that into the cloud," he says, noting that IT grew wary of megaprojects for a good reason -- in the past, they often led to big failures. "I'm trying to do [cloud computing] in ways so we don't make mistakes and waste a lot of money, and if we find it doesn't work, we can back out."

Perhaps, then, despite all of the hype around the benefits of cloud computing, the migration of federal IT to the cloud won't be an all-out sprint so much as a well-paced marathon.

Pratt is a Computerworld contributing writer in Waltham, Mass. Contact her at marykpratt@verizon.net.

This version of this story was originally published in Computerworld's print edition. It was adapted from an article that appeared earlier on Computerworld.com.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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