MeriTalk Projects $16.6 Billion Cloud Saving for Federal AgenciesFederal IT managers believe benefits of moving mission-critical applications to the cloud, but many of those apps require major re-structuring to modernize them for the cloud, according to the online community and go-to resource for government IT provider, MeriTalk, new report.

According to the “Mission-Critical Cloud: Ready for the Heavy Lift?” report, 46% of managers said cloud-based mission-critical apps would improve their efficiency, while 35 percent are unsure about cloud movement. Another 45 percent said those applications need a revisit first.

The top benefit in moving mission-critical apps to the cloud as per the report is cost savings. Federal IT managers say they can save more than $16 billion annually by moving their infrastructure to cloud computing. The figure is more than what was projected by the Office of Management and Budget.

In May 2011, the former Chief Information Officer of Federal agencies, Vivek Kundra, said that moving service, application and computer storage to the cloud would save the US government a minimum of $5 billion annually.

Security is again came as a front runner obstacle in migrating to the cloud, with 73 percent indicating that data vulnerabilities and threat vectors issues are a primary barrier in shifting mission-critical apps to the cloud. Majority of participants said that they prefer a private cloud over a hybrid or public model. Nearly 40% of respondents said they have shifted their apps to a private cloud, compared to just 11 percent moved to hybrid cloud and rest 10% engaged with a public cloud, while 23 percent has moved traditional applications to public clouds.

“Transitioning legacy, mission-critical applications to the cloud is not a forklift exercise — in many cases it’s more like an organ transplant,” MeriTalk founder Steve O’Keeffe said in a statement, noting the respondents’ preference of a private cloud over the public and hybrid alternatives. “With the complexity and security concerns, it’s not surprising many agencies want a private room.”

About ninety-one percent of early adopters to cloud computing said the migrations to cloud have been successful. The mission-critical apps include financial management, procurement, logistics, customer relationship management and project management systems.

IT managers who have successfully implemented cloud services said, “Systems are running at a reduced cost across the enterprise and we are selling the services to outside agencies.”

Among others cited as a barrier to move to cloud include clearance from Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program, certification of cloud service providers, and security regulations to host and manage government applications.

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