Recap: Cloud Computing for Government – Featuring FedEx

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Thanks in part to an aggressive pro-cloud stance taken by the Obama administration, the federal government is positioning itself to be an aggressive adopter of cloud computing and cloud technologies, as evidenced by the recent GSA RFQ. As a result of the government’s push towards the clouds, there has been a strong desire on the part of agency IT leadership and practitioners to hear from real cloud users, providers, and technology suppliers. A number of civilian and defense CIOs and CTOs have taken “study tours” to visit firms like Google and Amazon in an effort to transfer back best practices and lessons learned back to their agencies.

In response to this need, and to help facilitate the sharing of cloud success stories with government, last week Appistry hosted a “Success in the Clouds” breakfast seminar in Washington, D.C.

I provided the “warm-up act” 🙂 providing an overview of a variety of cloud computing topics and trends before inviting up Mike Rains from FedEx to speak. Mike shared FedEx’s real-world experiences as an Appistry customer and early adopter of private clouds for mission-critical applications, with much of his time spent addressing direct audience questions.

Here are my slides.

One of my take-aways from the event was a reminder of just how broad the cloud discussion is: At one of the breaks I was approached by an attendee asking whether I’ve seen customers using cloud computing as a way to reduce software licensing costs. I responded yes, as we’ve often seen a shift to cloud happen in parallel with a move to open source to accomplish just this. Her response startled me at first, “You mean to products like Open Office?”

To a server-side guy like myself, pushing desktop apps into the cloud is sometimes not quite as interesting as all the datacenter, application-tier and middleware magic that it takes to make that happen, but to end-user organizations the shift away from desktop applications and to web-delivered apps can provide tremendous economic value. It was a good reminder to be conscious of the many perspectives we bring to cloud.


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