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Don’t Look to Cloud Computing for Cost Savings?

In May there was an AFCEA conference that addressed computing strategies in the cloud environment. Following comments were attributed to DoD senior speakers: *

"If we're doing cloud purely to save money, we're going to fail."
"You've got to look at it as a large investment in resources, and that will be the challenge."
"IT leaders can easily fall into the trap of over promising and under delivering when it comes to cloud computing."

The above comments are misplaced. That fact is that five-year total cost of ownership savings from cloud computing show that capital costs can be reduced by 91% and operating cost savings by 72%.  The break-even paybacks are less than two years.

Though the migration of cloud computing offers many additional advantages, including improved security, the potential of realizing enormous cost reductions cannot be dismissed. In the Department of Defense it is the budget, not the technology that drives IT investment decisions. Without an immediate concentration on realizable cash savings it is unlikely that any new information technology program can receive attention.

Proposing migration to cloud computing as requiring large up front investments is unrealistic. Migration to cloud computing cannot be funded under current budgetary constraints. It will require decisive actions to move thousands of DoD applications to a limited number of platforms (PaaS) to generate gains. The technologies for such rapid migration are available now and have been tested in commercial cases.

The DoD deterrent to rapid migration to money-saving clouds is not strategy or technology, but policy and organization. What DoD needs now is consolidation to a few PaaS platforms to replace hundreds of separate systems “silos”.  With 57% of DoD spending consumed by a multiplicity of infrastructures, a few interoperable PaaS platforms can deliver not only very large savings but also greatly improve the ability of DoD to innovate and adapt to the rapidly rising needs of cyber operations.


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