On July 11, 2012, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report on “Information Technology Reform: Progress Made but Future Cloud Computing Efforts Should be Better Planned.”
The GAO did the study in response to the administration’s 25 point plan for reforming federal information technology’s “cloud first” initiative, which set a goal for each agency to migrate three services to a cloud solution by June 2012. While the study found that agencies have made progress in implementing cloud computing, it also found challenges for agencies trying to meet deadlines for the cloud first policy. The GAO cited that in planning for cloud solutions; all but one agency’s plans were missing key elements including estimated costs and plans for retiring or repurposing existing legacy systems.
Among the other challenges found by GAO were 1) meeting federal security requirements, 2) obtaining guidance, 3) acquiring knowledge and expertise, 4) certifying and accrediting vendors, 5) ensuring data portability and interoperability, 6) overcoming cultural barriers, and 7) procuring services on a consumption (on-demand) basis. Many of these same issues are items we have written about over the past year, and have been included in CAGW’s two issue briefs on cloud computing “Cloud Computing 101: A Brief Introduction” and “Cloud Computing 201: Guidelines for Successful Cloud Investments.”
As noted in the GAO report, pre-planning cloud migrations and anticipating the retirement or redistribution and use of existing legacy systems is necessary in order to reap the savings potential offered by cloud computing.