Federal Government Up in the Air About Cloud Computing, Survey Finds

Respondents to FOSE 2009 government IT survey evenly split when rating importance of cloud computing in government IT operations

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Uncertainty about cloud computing and an uptick in virtualization deployments are key trends in government IT, according to a survey administered at FOSE 2009 by ScienceLogic, an IT operations management provider. For the third year in a row, the survey asked federal government network engineers, systems administrators and IT managers about the challenges they face in 2009 and what technologies and IT projects are most important to them.

While about 42 percent of survey respondents said cloud computing was important, 19 percent said it wasn't; 40 percent of respondents simply did not know or could not answer. Unsurprisingly, less than 11 percent say they are using cloud computing today with only an additional 11 percent having any plans in the next year to adopt.

"The new Obama administration, while very vocal about changes to federal government IT, has yet to push down mandates about cloud computing," said David Link, CEO of ScienceLogic. "Without mandates and government-wide requirements that address concerns regarding the security and accessibility of cloud computing infrastructure, it is no wonder that the government momentum is still up in the air, with a very few exceptions, when it comes to utilizing public clouds.

"Through an integrator partner of ours, we provide IT operations management solutions for Department of Defense private cloud initiative featuring on-demand computing features that has been in production for several years now. The DoD has a tradition of being at the forefront of leading technology adoption; for example, they have moved furthest to utilize IPv6 applications on IPv6-only networks."

Other Hot Topics from the Survey

As in 2008, the survey showed that virtualization remains a hot topic, with 76 percent of federal IT workers marking it as important to their operations. Last year, although virtualization management was hot, implementation rates were not very high; that has changed in 2009, as 45 percent of agencies will have a solution in place this year, as opposed to less than 15 percent a year ago.

Green IT and Web 2.0 are hot topics for the Obama administration, but like cloud computing lack the mandates needed to speed adoption in federal IT. Green IT is important to over 60 percent of agency IT workers, but fewer than 11 percent actually have energy-efficient or power-saving solutions in place. For Web 2.0, 55 percent of agencies acknowledge that emerging Internet tools are important, but fewer than 1 in 4 federal IT departments actually have solutions in place - well down from the 52 percent who planned to have Web 2.0 integrated into operations by 2009, according to last year's survey.

"While there is a marked hesitation to embrace cloud computing in the federal space, the numbers around virtualization adoption move this technology from hype to reality," said Link. "As the first set results from our survey showed, government IT is being affected by the economic crisis. Like IT everywhere, they are focusing on projects such as using virtualization for server consolidation which can show immediate value and cost savings instead of projects where value is harder to measure, such as Web 2.0 or Green IT."

Other key trends indicated by the survey included:

  • Continuity of operations is important for agencies, and their IT teams know it -- over 90 percent of federal IT workers feel the same, with just under 60 percent having the appropriate back-up and remote disaster recovery tools implemented.
  • FISMA remains high on the list of key federal technology trends - nearly 90 percent of IT departments understand the importance and adoption continues to climb, with well over half of all agencies having implemented the necessary tools and solutions to meet the mandate.
  • Just over half of agency IT personnel feel that ITIL and CMBD are important, but fewer than 18 percent of agencies have a solution in place.

This is the second half of ScienceLogic's FOSE 2009 survey - to see the results from the first section of the survey, focusing on agency IT's reaction to the Obama administration and the economy, please visit http://www.sciencelogic.com/pressrelease_20090324.htm. For more information on ScienceLogic or to see results from previous FOSE Government IT Surveys, please visit www.sciencelogic.com

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