The White House


The Federal Government’s current Information Technology (IT) environment is characterized by low asset utilization, a fragmented demand for resources, duplicative systems, environments which are difficult to manage, and long procurement lead times These inefficiencies negatively impact the Federal Government’s ability to serve the American public.

Cloud computing has the potential to play a major part in addressing these inefficiencies and improving government service delivery The cloud computing model can significantly help agencies grappling with the need to provide highly reliable, innovative services quickly despite resource constraints.

Commercial service providers are expanding their available cloud offerings to include the entire traditional IT stack of hardware and software infrastructure, middleware platforms, application system components, software services, and turnkey applications The private sector has taken advantage of these technologies to improve resource utilization, increase service responsiveness, and accrue meaningful benefits in efficiency, agility, and innovation Similarly, for the Federal Government, cloud computing holds tremendous potential to deliver public value by increasing operational efficiency and responding faster to constituent needs.

An estimated $20 billion of the Federal Government’s $80 billion in IT spending is a potential target for migration to cloud computing solutions (Appendix 1).

To harness the benefits of cloud computing, we have instituted a Cloud First policy This policy is intended to accelerate the pace at which the government will realize the value of cloud computing by requiring agencies to evaluate safe, secure cloud computing options before making any new investments.

By leveraging shared infrastructure and economies of scale, cloud computing presents a compelling business model for Federal leadership Organizations will be able to measure and pay for only the IT resources they consume, increase or decrease their usage to match requirements and budget constraints, and leverage the shared underlying capacity of IT resources via a network Resources needed to support mission critical capabilities can be provisioned more rapidly and with minimal overhead and routine provider interaction.

Cloud computing can be implemented using a variety of deployment models – private, community, public, or a hybrid combination.

Cloud computing offers the government an opportunity to be more efficient, agile, and innovative through more effective use of IT investments, and by applying innovations developed in the private sector If an agency wants to launch a new innovative program, it can quickly do so by leveraging cloud infrastructure without having to acquire significant hardware, lowering both time and cost barriers to deployment.

This Federal Cloud Computing Strategy is designed to:

  • Articulate the benefits, considerations, and trade-offs of cloud computing
  • Provide a decision framework and case examples to support agencies in migrating towards cloud computing
  • Highlight cloud computing implementation resources
  • Identify Federal Government activities and roles and responsibilities for catalyzing cloud adoption

Following the publication of this strategy, each agency will re-evaluate its technology sourcing strategy to include consideration and application of cloud computing solutions as part of the budget process Consistent with the Cloud First policy, agencies will modify their IT portfolios to fully take advantage of the benefits of cloud computing in order to maximize capacity utilization, improve IT flexibility and responsiveness, and minimize cost.