Cloud problems need to be addressed now to clear way for future

Cloud has been a hot topic for years, but it wasn’t until the federal government’s 2011 Cloud First mandate, requiring agencies to opt for cloud-based IT services for certain systems, that agencies really stepped on the gas with it.

Despite some high profile cloud deals making headlines—influencing other agencies to quit beating around the bush and make the move—adoption has been slow.

That is partly due to problems in acquisition, said David Lancaster, Dell Federal marketing executive, speaking at a Dell 1-5-10 Series Cloud roundtable on Tuesday. Different agencies’ unique requirements call for different cloud setups for each—a time consuming and daunting process.

But the discussion should not be around technology; it should be about business, Lancaster said. “That was the whole purpose of Cloud First; while it was talking about technology in the plan, it was really talking about solving the business problems” and about agencies becoming more agile.

But while adoption has been slow, “the momentum is increasing,” Lancaster said.

As momentum increases, cloud is helping pave the way for emerging technologies like the Internet of Things, which is quickly becoming the fabric of life.

“There are a lot of businesses out there that probably won’t care so much about Internet of Things, but there are businesses out there that will make every individual, as a consumer, love the idea,” said James Urquhart, director of product, Cloud Management Systems, Dell.

“That’s actually really interesting because consumer-led versus enterprise-led IT is increasingly becoming the norm,” he said, referencing the success that Apple has had with its products over the years.

Cloud will be crucial to this transition, as the data collected from the devices comprising the Internet of Things is generally sent to a cloud.

Internet of Things will come with its own set of problems, as well. “As you start looking at how ubiquitous IT is going to become within all of these Internet of Things devices, you start getting into major privacy issues,” said Lon Gowen, chief technologist and special adviser to the CIO, USAID.

“The other issue is power: being able to power all of these devices, whether it’s my glasses that I got from Google or something else—watches, or things we have sitting on lamp posts,” Gowen added.

About the Author

Mark Hoover is a senior staff writer with Washington Technology. You can contact him at, or connect with him on Twitter at @mhooverWT.

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