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Neither the private nor the public sectors have a clear understanding of what cloud computing fully encompasses

MeriTalk (www.meritalk.com), an online community that combines professional networking and thought leadership to drive the government IT community dialogue, and the Merlin Federal Cloud Initiative, an alliance with Merlin International, NetApp, Riverbed, and VMware, today announced the results of its study, the “2009 Cloud Consensus Report – Bringing the Cloud Down to Earth.”

The study reveals that though cloud computing is considered the hot technology topic today, neither the private nor the public sectors have a clear understanding of what cloud computing fully encompasses. Only 13 percent of private- and public-sector IT executives report that their organization or agency is using cloud computing, while 44 percent report using applications that rely on the cloud.

The “2009 Cloud Consensus Report” provides snapshots of industry and government cloud progress, details the issues stalling the Federal cloud transition, and provides recommendations to enable agency cloud-readiness. On track with industry, most Federal agencies claim to be in cloud learning mode, which presents an opportunity for the Federal government to lead by creating a unified cloud definition and standards that can be universally employed across all agencies and into industry. While government and industry are in early adoption, the future looks promising. Forecasting ahead, 76 percent of IT and government managers believe that the cloud is here to stay.

“There’s a misperception that the public sector often lags behind private industry in cutting-edge enterprise tech adoption, but in this case, perhaps the perception of the status of cloud adoption is just as hazy as the definition of the cloud,” said John Trauth, president, Technology Systems Division, Merlin International. “The Federal government must take the lead and provide a unified, clear cloud definition to be used across all agencies and industry.”

Federal Civilian and Department of Defense agency respondents cited savings as the top benefit to cloud computing – 63 percent of all Federal respondents believe this technology is the key to reducing IT expenses. Today’s economy, the increased emphasis on agency cost savings, and President Barack Obama’s technology initiatives of transparency, collaboration, and participation all make the promise of the cloud appealing to those looking for the panacea for Federal IT woes. The new administration is placing special emphasis on transitioning to the cloud to tap into the cloud’s potential to allow agencies to save without sacrifice. The National Institute of Standards and Technologies (NIST) has offered a working definition of cloud computing. But what is holding up the transition?

Seventy-eight percent of respondents claimed that concerns over security in the cloud are the biggest barrier to cloud adoption, while 41 percent also cited privacy concerns. To build cloud confidence, Federal IT executives need security assurance and examples of cloud implementation success stories to clear the way for widespread cloud adoption. In the interim, agencies can take advantage of the benefits of the private cloud to centralize and virtualize their IT infrastructures and comply with Federal mandates, such as continuity of operations (COOP).

The “2009 Cloud Consensus Report – Bringing the Cloud Down to Earth” is based on an online survey of 605 Federal and industry IT managers in June 2009. To download the full study results, please visit http://www.meritalk.com/2009-cloud-consensus.php.

SYS-CON Announces Government IT Conference & Expo
SYS-CON Events announced today the latest event in its innovative series of real-world technology conferences, 1st Annual Government IT Conference & Expo (GovITExpo), a two-day deep dive into the new wave of Internet-based technologies that are changing the way that Federal agencies leverage, procure and utilize IT.

GovITExpo, which is being held October 5-6, 2009 in Washington, DC, builds on the success of SYS-CON's Cloud Computing Expo, the fastest-growing conference anywhere in the world devoted to the delivery of massively scalable IT as a service using Internet technologies. Data storage, security and software services are among the major themes of the technical program.

Cloud Computing will be one of the main tracks. According to the Washington Post this week, the U.S. Census Bureau is using Salesforce's cloud to manage the activities of about 100,000 partner organizations across the country. And the Defense Department's technology arm has already set up a cloud to let the military rent storage space or use remote software programs. Companies like online application provider NetSuite have shifted their focus to federal sales, on the basis that what works for Enterprise IT can also work for Government.

There will be breakout sessions on the security issues that are unique to the Cloud, such as the crucial distinction between Private and Public clouds. There will be sessions too on the Data.gov vision of Vivek Kundra, America's first Chief Information Officer. Expert speakers from government and the software industry alike will be looking at issues such as the requirements for how companies can handle government information and how information can be most successfully shared by multiple clouds.

With major companies like Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, Sun, HP and Google all currently championing various cloud computing offerings for the federal government, there will be no shortage of exhibitors either on the Expo Floor.

Doing more with less is the new reality for most IT departments, and the Government is no exception. So the cost-effectiveness of technologies such as Virtualization will also be foremost on the agenda.

Alongside the Cloud Computing and Virtualization tracks there will also be a standalone track on Security & Compliance.

"Our organizing principle at GovITExpo is that, through our intensive two-day schedule of keynotes, general and breakout sessions, attending delegates will be assured of leaving the event with abundant resources, ideas and examples they can apply immediately to whatever federal agency they work for or with - helping agencies to maximize performance, minimize cost and improve the efficiency and scalability of their IT initiatives," said Jeremy Geelan, Sr. Vice-President, SYS-CON Events.

For further information about GovITExpo, contact:

EXHIBIT/SPONSORSHIP INQUIRIES:

Events (a) sys-con.com / 201 802-3020

PRESS INQUIRIES:

editorial (a) sys-con.com / 201 802-3040

About Pat Romanski
News Desk compiles and publishes breaking news stories, press releases and latest news articles as they happen.

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