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Government and the Battle of the Clouds

by Andrea Di Maio  |  October 26, 2010  |  2 Comments

Last week there has been a number of interesting events concerning cloud computing and government.

It all started with the news that the State of California has awarded a contract for email to Microsoft, followed by the long-awaited list of IaaS vendors selected by GSA after 16 months and two RFQs, and was concluded by the announcement that also New York City decided for Microsoft.

Things seem to have changed pretty fast in a matter of months. Just a few months ago Google seemed unstoppable, with references of growing size (city of Westerville, Orlando and Los Angeles), and some commentators were predicting difficult times for Microsoft. And now, things have turned around, with big names like IBM and HP missing from the list of vendors awarded with the IaaS GSA contract (see Gartner analysis – client access required) and Microsoft piling up big wins.

Just one year ago, at the Gartner Symposium in Orlando, Florida, I chaired a panel with several vendors, including Google and Microsoft (see Gartner analysis – client access required). The former was exuding confidence due the several pilots and some of its wins, as well as the announcement of its government cloud. Microsoft looked more subdued, but now things look brighter for them than for their competitors.

What is particularly interesting in the cloud battle for the hearts and minds of government agencies is that while contestants are relatively clear, the battlefield is not. There is still considerable confusion about what different government organizations, and roles therein, consider being a cloud.

The question “I have a virtualized data center: is it a private cloud?” is unfortunately still very common. My answer is usually “why do you care?”. Cloud looks like a beauty contest, with many trying to prove that they are either using or seriously considering to use it.

Also some of the managed service vendors or system integrators feel compelled to have a position if not an offering about the cloud.

This begs the real question: how many twists and turns will the market take before cloud services become truly comparable, pricing models stabilize, portability standards appear, and government agencies can strategically embrace the cloud?

Category: cloud  

Tags: google  gsa  microsoft  

Andrea Di Maio
Managing VP
15 years at Gartner
28 years IT industry

Andrea Di Maio is a managing vice president for public sector in Gartner Research, covering government and education. His personal research focus is on digital government strategies strategies, Web 2.0, open government, cloud computing, the business value of IT, smart cities, and the impact of technology on the future of government Read Full Bio

Thoughts on Government and the Battle of the Clouds

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Justin Kerr-Stevens, Jovi Umawing, Andrea DiMaio, Pablo Diaz, TrisAPClark and others. TrisAPClark said: RT @AndreaDiMaio: Government and the Battle of the Clouds – #cloud #gov20 #opengov […]

  2. […] Government and the Battle of the Clouds (From Gartner Blog) This post raises a fair question about the state of government cloud efforts. It’s not just providers offering different visions, but individual agencies as well. Related ResearchIs AWS On Track for $500 Million? In Q3, Big Data Meant Big Dollars With Scalable Data Stores Around, Is NoSQL a Non-Starter? What Enterprise Software Vendors Could Learn from the Consumer Space  […]

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