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March 13, 2009
Vol.31 Issue 10|
Page(s) 34 in print issue
Report: Government Could Save With Cloud Computing
A recent report indicates that government agencies could save a tremendous amount of money spent on IT budgets by embracing open-source software, virtualization, and cloud computing (particularly its subset, software as a service). The report, from MeriTalk, Red Hat, and DLT Solutions, studied 30 federal agencies to get a representation of the savings that all such agencies could realize if the recommendations in the report were implemented across the board.
Of Special Interest To:
Health Education Government
“We spend $70 billion on IT, but after years of boosted funding, federal IT managers are facing a budget crunch,” says Caroline Boyd, general manager at MeriTalk.
“Agencies are going to have to do more with less,” she says. “Looking at an agency’s current technology, they need to consider how they are going to use what they have in new ways and how they are going to fund the many new IT priorities.
“We believe the real question is how much can agencies save using progressive technologies like open source, virtualization, and cloud computing/software-as-a-service,” Boyd says. “Can federal IT executives reduce spending on current programs and then reallocate these funds to new priorities?”
Among the 30 federal agencies included in the study, virtualization was the most effective method of reducing costs. Using virtualization, the government could save about $13.3 billion over three years, which would nearly cover the amount it spent on energy in fiscal year 2008, according to the report.
“The idea is that instead of having 20 large computers running, sucking up lots of space, power, [and] cooling, you partition a single platform and run at capacity,” Boyd says.
Cloud computing (using applications hosted on the Internet rather than on a local system) and SaaS (subscriptions to continually updated software instead of purchases of specific versions outright) could net the federal government $6.6 billion in savings, the report says. That could cover the payroll for 107,000 federal civilian employees in 2009, according to MeriTalk.
Open-source software could reduce federal spending by $3.7 billion, the report says. That amount could buy a new notebook computer and smartphone for every federal civilian employee, according to MeriTalk.
“We suggest that agencies take a hard look at these options and participate in the growing dialogue on cost-saving opportunities with their peers in government IT,” says Boyd.
The report notes that, because of overlap among open source, cloud computing and SaaS, and virtualization, savings would diminish somewhat if all three technologies were implemented in a single agency. To calculate your own organization’s potential savings, try MeriTalk’s DIY Federal IT Bailout Calculator at www.meritalk.com/federal-IT-forum/calculator-input.asp.
by Marty Sems