Federal Cloud Initiatives Move Forward As Cloud-First Mandate Looms

Federal cloud computing initiatives

But the increased federal cloud momentum comes as federal CIO Vivek Kundra, a major proponent of federal cloud initiatives, prepares to leave his position, leaving the status of his cloud-first initiative in flux.

Cloud management vendor ScienceLogic surveyed 113 attendees at the FOSE conference and also found that one-third of federal agencies queried have not identified applications to move to the cloud or started cloud migration. Another third has identified applications to move to the cloud, but have not started migration.

Ninety-two percent of agencies that have already started making the move to the cloud said they are concerned about the performance and availability of services hosted in the cloud, while 79 percent of the total number of agencies surveyed said they share those concerns.

Additionally, 63 percent said they will require additional tools to manage and monitor government cloud resources. Nine percent of respondents said they are not concerned with the performance and availability of services hosted in the cloud, and 12 percent said they have not thought about it.

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Federal agencies moving slowly to the cloud comes as Kundra's cloud-first policy dictates that all government agencies must identify and migrate some IT services to the cloud within the next 18 months. With Kundra leaving office, about 65 percent of respondents to the ScienceLogic survey said they were concerned that the national budget allocated to implement the cloud first policy will shrink.

"While our survey indicates the Cloud First policy has not achieved rapid adoption, two-thirds of respondents have taken some action towards cloud deployments, highlighting the continued desire for cloud computing within the government," David Link, CEO of ScienceLogic, said in a statement. "An overwhelming majority however are concerned about safeguarding IT services in this new cloud environment, which may be why swift government cloud adoption has stalled. This is not surprising considering the precursors to cloud, including virtualization and data center consolidation, present their own complex IT management challenges."

Link added: "With Kundra leaving office, uncertainty around budget, tools and staff have put government organizations in a holding pattern."

That holding pattern is evidenced by 38 percent of respondents saying they are waiting to see if and how the cloud first policy will impact their IT operations, while 50 percent said the cloud first push has already impacted their planned IT operations in some way.

Along with prepping to make the cloud leap, federal agencies are concerned that they will require more resources to prepare for the cloud shift. More than 32 percent said they will hire staff with cloud skills while 34 percent will train existing staff and 12 percent will do a combination of both.