State of Public Sector Cloud Computing

CIO Council


The Obama Administration is changing the way business is done in Washington and bringing a new sense of responsibility to how we manage taxpayer dollars. We are working to bring the spirit of American innovation and the power of technology to improve performance and lower the cost of government operations.

The United States Government is the world’s largest consumer of information technology, spending over $76 billion annually on more than 10,000 different systems. Fragmentation of systems, poor project execution, and the drag of legacy technology in the Federal Government have presented barriers to achieving the productivity and performance gains found when technology is deployed effectively in the private sectors.

In September 2009, we announced the Federal Government’s Cloud Computing Initiative. Cloud computing has the potential to greatly reduce waste, increase data center efficiency and utilization rates, and lower operating costs. This report presents an overview of cloud computing across the public sector. It provides the Federal Government’s definition of cloud computing, and includes details on deployment models, service models, and common characteristics of cloud computing.

As we move to the cloud, we must be vigilant in our efforts to ensure that the standards are in place for a cloud computing environment that provides for security of government information, protects the privacy of our citizens, and safeguards our national security interests. This report provides details regarding the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s efforts to facilitate and lead the development of standards for security, interoperability, and portability.

Furthermore, this report details Federal budget guidance issued to agencies to foster the adoption of cloud computing technologies, where relevant, and provides an overview of the Federal Government’s approach to data center consolidation.

This report concludes with 30 illustrative case studies at the Federal, state and local government levels. These case studies reflect the growing movement across the public sector to leverage cloud computing technologies.

(Executive Summary)