Learning to Drive

Handing the car keys to your kids isn’t as easy as it sounds. The practical and emotional hurdles are enough to keep them in the passenger’s seat. Do they know all the rules of the road? And even if they do, will they do the right thing? It’s not easy being a parent.

Federal agencies treat their data the same way. It’s tough letting go.

Even though agencies have a growing number of cloud options by the day, we aren’t seeing widespread adoption of cloud solutions.  Agencies definitely have tremendous interest in the cloud, and some agencies are more ambitious than others, but it’s fair to say that many remain in the slow lane.

Governance represents the single, most important concern that agencies have expressed about a cloud migration.

Who has control of data and who has access to data keeps Feds up at night, and they simply aren’t about to step on the gas and go speeding down the road until they have full confidence that they know the answers to those questions.

And it stands to reason. Feds bear tremendous responsibility for their data, and they don’t take that responsibility lightly.

Despite the concerns, some agencies are kicking the tires on the cloud. Some are increasingly comfortable moving data sets to the cloud. Some have enough confidence in the cloud to move backups. Others have migrated testing and development to the cloud.

As they decide what else to migrate to the cloud, agencies are identifying applications and data that aren’t hindered by a little latency as candidates for migration to the cloud.

The opportunities to take advantage of the cloud truly are endless, and agencies that already are engaged in efforts to move data and applications to the cloud are gaining valuable experience. They are able to grasp the power and flexibility of the cloud. While it can be difficult to quantify the direct financial savings that cloud solutions offer, it is clear that cloud solutions leave more resources – money and people – for other IT programs.

So interest in the cloud continues to grow. Interest in hybrid cloud solutions is especially high right now because agencies feel it provides them the cloud solutions they want with the peace of mind they need.

Agencies are getting used to the idea seeing someone else behind the wheel, but it will take a little more time before they are completely comfortable in the passenger’s seat. No matter when they hand over the keys, it promises to be a good journey.

Read our new research on the public sector’s cloud concerns, “Cloud Control: Moving to the Comfort Zone,” here.

Alan Dare, NetApp, District Manager, U.S. Public Sector Cloud