The Benefits of Cloud Computing For Public Safety – Part 1


The U.S. Federal Government has adopted a “cloud first” policy[1] that requires agencies default to cloud-based solutions whenever a secure, reliable, cloud option exists. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has issued a three volume Cloud Computing Technology Roadmap[2] and initiated a standards acceleration program so that best practices from the private sector can be used for government systems immediately, without a protracted standards process.

Cloud Economy of Scale

The motivation for this unprecedented initiative is clearly economic. Figure 1 shows the cycle of excess and insufficient capacity inherent in premise-based systems, versus how cloud based infrastructure scales quickly to meet, but not exceed, demand.

Figure 1 – Elasticity of Infrastructure as a Service

 

A Booz Allen Hamilton Study[3] (Figure 2) compared the cost of 1000 premise based servers with equivalent capacity in public, hybrid, and private cloud environments. Their findings show that shared infrastructure alone results in 50-70% life cycle cost savings. Furthermore, the cost of the cloud itself is decreasing dramatically. The cost to run a basic Internet application on LoudCloud in 2000 was $150,000 / month. Running the same application on Amazon today costs $1500 / month, two orders of magnitude less. It is a conservative expectation that we will see still another order of magnitude reduction within the current decade.


 Figure 2 – Cost Advantage of Shared Infrastructure

All of these cost benefits accrue from the migration of systems infrastructure from premise to cloud, or Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).  Even greater savings and benefits are possible when platforms and applications are migrated to the cloud.

Read Part 2 


[1] Federal information technology shared services strategy – http://goo.gl/fNdFK

[2] NIST Special Publication 500-293, US Government Cloud Computing Technology Roadmap, Release 1.0 (Draft), Volume I High-Priority Requirements to Further USG Agency Cloud Computing Adoption – http://goo.gl/CPmQR; NIST Special Publication 500-293, US Government Cloud Computing Technology Roadmap, Release 1.0 (Draft), Volume II Useful Information for Cloud Adopters – http://goo.gl/qLebx; NIST US Government Cloud Computing Technology Roadmap Volume III – Technical Considerations for USG Cloud Computer Deployment Decisions (First Working Draft) – http://goo.gl/skV2Q

[3] Booz Allen Hamilton, The Economics of Cloud Computing – http://goo.gl/wPSLE

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