US Government adoption of cloud to swell, study says

LA may be leading edge in how state, local governments deliver services

Cloud computing won a big endorsement in 2009 from the city of Los Angeles when it decided to adopt Google Apps, and many other state and local governments may soon follow with their own cloud approaches, according to a new survey by Input Inc.

The Reston, Va.-based market research firm estimates that cloud computing spending by US state and local governments will increase 22% from 2009 through 2014, or from US$230 million to US$620 million. State and local governments now spend about US$56.6 billion on IT.

The cloud spending is on both internal and external cloud deployments, but one model that may gain with state governments is providing services to local governments via their own clouds. Utah and Michigan are developing services that may be available to other governments. Los Angeles, for its part, may see local governments piggyback on its agreement with Google, said Alexander Rossino, an Input analyst.

The move by Los Angeles to replace its internally hosted e-mail system with Google Apps, "could have a ripple effect across the market," Rossino said. But the states are also waiting for the federal government to produce standards, as well as watching to see who will be providing cloud services to the federal government, he said.

Input said it interviewed 56 state, local and IT industry professionals for the survey.

In October, Utah's Department of Technology Services outlined a "hybrid cloud" approach for state government that uses both internally hosted services, with specialized access and security requirements, as well as public services. The intent is to provide "on-demand self-service and provision-computing capabilities, such as hosting and network storage, as needed, without requiring human interaction with each service's provider."

Patrick Thibodeau covers SaaS and enterprise applications, outsourcing, government IT policies; data centers and IT workforce issues for Computerworld . Follow Patrick on Twitter @DCgov , send e-mail at pthibodeau@computerworld.com or subscribe to Patrick's RSS feed.

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