For the last five years, you haven't been able to go two clicks on the internet without seeing an article, an ad or some other kind of announcement about cloud computing. Typically, the message has been all about the advantages of letting someone else handle the hardware, software and even applications. But many organizations—particularly in the public sector—are choosing to update rather than outsource. The thinking behind that decision should be instructive for cloud and hosting providers considering how to position their services.
Previously, public organizations have kept many servers in-house either to maximize the value of earlier investments or to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements. Now, many public sector organizations have stretched their existing infrastructure to the limits of its useful life or beyond and Amazon Web Services was just certified as FedRAMP compliant.
Should make going to the cloud a no-brainer, right?
And yet, the economy is recovering, funds are becoming available again to state and local IT managers and computing advances continue to deliver higher performance at lower costs. These factors make the value proposition for keeping the data center, or at least portions of it, in-house much more compelling than it may have seemed just a few years ago.
That's just what many organizations are doing, despite the Government Services Authority's Cloud First policy. Cheaper, more powerful servers and easier-to-use virtualization software allow them to increase capabilities and responsiveness to users' needs more quickly than ever before, or to create private cloud environments. This, in turn, is driving further cost savings in physical space, energy usage and HVAC savings. And it doesn't preclude them from using cloud or hosting solutions for specific tasks or services.
The take away for cloud services and datacenter providers is this: cloud is not the be all and end all of computing, at least not to many public and private sector IT buyers. It's an attractive option, sure, but one that needs to play nicely with the range of compelling tools at their disposal.