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Government

Apptis Clouds for Governments

Cloud computing is merely a new term for a number of older approaches to solving IT problems and it can be seen as a natural extension of various forms of outsourcing that have been successfully used by organizations of all sizes.
Written by Dan Kusnetzky, Contributor on

Tim May and Phil Horvitz, both of Apptis, and I had a very interesting conversation about who is adopting cloud computing now, why they're doing it and who is likely to use it later. We seemed to be working with similar views and you know that that means, either we're both right or we're both misguided souls that will come to see the light later.  Personally, I hope it is the first.

Cloud computing, like other types of innovative solutions to IT problems, is really a convergence of technological capability meeting organizational or business problems. Since no two organizations face the exact same problems or have the same culture and personality, how each organization responds to this set of trends can differ dramatically. Some organizations will seize on a new approach in the hope of eliminating the problem they see.  Others will not feel a strong need to try a new approach because the problem, in their view, is manageable with today's approaches and tools.

Suppliers versus IT

In the background something else is going on as well. Suppliers are donig their best to convince anyone who will listen that their new approach will do a much better job of solving those problems and at a much lower cost.

The organization's IT folks, on the other hand, are trying to maintain the status quo and know that any change introduced into the environment, no matter how small, is likely to have broad consequences. So, they follow the golden rules of IT (Reprise of the Golden Rules of IT) and do their best to ignore Vendors' Siren's Call. They fear that their IT infrastructure could be dashed against the rocks and they would be held accountable for any failure.

Today's environment

Tim and Phil pointed out that the following trends are overcoming some of this fear and forcing small to medium sized commercial organizations as well as many state and local governmental organizations to embrace cloud computing relatively early in its life cycle.

  • Cloud computing is merely a new term for a number of older approaches to solving IT problems and it can be seen as a natural extension of various forms of outsourcing that have been successfully used by organizations of all sizes.
  • The ongoing financial crisis is causing many to decide to cut costs at all costs. While some may point out that the decisions being taken are short sided and wrong, others would point out that if the organization doesn't survive, a long term focus would not be helpful or prudent.
  • Many organizations have downsized to the point that they no longer (or never had) the expertise to manage the increasingly complex, virtualized environment suppliers are pushing today.

The result is that some view cloud computing as a way to convert capital expenses that the organization no longer can support into operational expenses that can be directly metered based upon current use.

It appears that the financial crisis has created huge challenges for the IT folks in governmental groups and how they are responding depends upon many factors. It is likely that those in state or local governments are facing the "cut costs at any cost" imperative more than those in federal government IT groups.

The folks from Apptis described how cloud computing helped a number of their customers, who are governmental groups. I've heard similar stories from a number of other places including Citrix, HP, IBM, Microsoft and VMware.

Hype, fad or new reality? We'll have to watch to see if this becomes a long-term trend or just another hype cycle.

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