When compared with the overall level of cloud integration at the federal level, a report shows that state governments are having trouble moving to the cloud at the same rapid pace. In 2010, President Obama announced that the federal government would move towards a cloud-first plan when building out new IT infrastructures. This has netted massive 8 and 9 figure contracts for the likes of Amazon and IBM to build out private federal cloud datacenters for the federal government. State governments have lacked this same cloud-first initiative simply because many state-level governments are bound by vendor contracts that they must first satisfy before making the leap to cloud. Getting past dated legislation also presents its fair share of challenges.
Legislation and vendor lock-in haven’t stopped states such as Massachusetts or Michigan, who have both made investments in cloud technology. We previously reported that Massachusetts Governor Duvall Patrick recently promised $3 million dollars in funding for the Massachusetts Open Cloud project. The state of Michigan moved its historical archives in the cloud, potentially saving the state government millions as we have previously reported. On the federal level, interim CIO of the GSA Sonny Hashmi is heading up a cloud implementation that could be replicated at the state level. Many of the tools his team created could be open sourced making large scale cloud deployments in different types of organizations easier and more efficient.
This biggest barrier to entry for state gov’ts and the cloud seems to be the existing legislation in each state. Lawmakers need to draft new legislation that satisfies existing contracts while prepares the state for the gradual shift to cloud. Presentations of this bill should revolve around the funding of the cloud for state and local governments. The bill should focus on using the federal cloud-first model as a blueprint for success. This proof of concept should be able to convince other local lawmakers to vote for the cloud when they may otherwise be clueless about cloud and technology topics altogether.