Obama banks on cloud, consolidation, to hold down IT costs

White House budget plan would keep federal IT spending close to fiscal 2010 levels

WASHINGTON - With Congress in the mood to cut spending, the federal budget proposed by President Barack Obama relies heavily on cloud computing and data center consolidation to keep IT costs under control.

The Obama administration's 2012 federal budget proposal sets aside $79.5 billion for IT spending for fiscal 2012, which begins Oct. 1.

This proposal would increase IT spending by 1.9% compared to fiscal 2010. The current fiscal year's IT spending remains a work in progress as the federal government operates under Continuing Resolutions. The latest resolution gives it enough money to operate through March 4.

The administration says it's able to keep IT spending essentially flat at least partly because of projected savings of $3 billion-plus from IT consolidation and a planned shift to cloud computing technologies.

The White House has been setting the new IT direction over the past year, and in recent months started putting hard numbers to the plan.

In December, the administration announced plans to close more than 800 of the government's 2,100 data centers by 2015.

Earlier this month, federal CIO Vivek Kundra released a report outlining a "cloud first" strategy for federal agencies.

Kundra estimates that the federal government could shift some $20 billion of IT spending to cloud computing platforms.

Kundra's report said the government "will be able to reduce our data center infrastructure expenditure by approximately 30%" through cloud computing.

Ray Bjorklund, a vice president at consulting firm Federal Sources in McLean, Va., questioned Kundra's savings estimate, noting that it is based on commercial sector studies that he is skeptical "will really apply to the government."

Commercial businesses can act quickly on IT changes, said Bjorklund, but government agencies have statutory requirements and are so complex that "trying to wave your wand and say we are going to achieve 30% savings is not that simple."

Bjorklund added that data center consolidation is a potentially long process, and he wondered whether the government "IT workforce is ready, willing, capable and able execute on that, to meet that timeline."

The federal budget discusses investment in "light technologies," which Deniece Peterson, an analyst at government market research firm Input in Reston, Va., said can be essentially defined as cloud services, but may include virtualization and Services-Oriented Architectures that are also part of an underlying cloud foundation.

Peterson also analyzed the budget in a blog post.

Instead of offering a significant amount of new funding for new technologies, this is a budget "that requires reprioritization and reprogramming of dollars," said Peterson.

Kundra has set the priorities and by establishing cloud as a top direction. "Other less-critical programs will either see cuts, smaller growth than anticipated or be simply put on the shelf to be addressed when those savings are eventually reinvested in projects with clearer, more defined ROI," said Peterson.

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

Read more about it in government in Computerworld's IT in Government Topic Center.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags governmentregulationData Centerhardware systemsConfiguration / maintenanceGovernment use of ITGov't Legislation/RegulationIT in Government

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Patrick Thibodeau

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

Bitdefender solutions stop attacks before they even begin! Get cybersecurity that 500 MILLION users already have and trust.

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?