It could be cloud computing a future work tool for central and local government?

Author: Bit Software
Date: 23- 11- 2010

One of the promises of cloud computing is that it allows you to leverage resources more efficiently, with a cost of acquisition, deployment and use much less. For the moment, the majority of open source applications are addressed, in particular, to companies. And less or not at all to the governments. Although the local and central government area is one that should not be neglected. Why? First of all, because the local and central government is notorious in the inefficient use of technology, because each of the entities or public institutions have implemented separately and independently of each then have the other systems, more or less own.

„Migration is inevitable”

According to experts, one area that the government has been underutilized in is the collection of data. „The government has data on everything, from insects, to traffic, to where people live and where they move. That data has been collected for various reasons, but it is typically locked up in databases or storage, never to see the light of day again. They store it because it's the public's property, but there is no impetus or resources to use the data for anything else”. said Kevin Jackson, director of Cloud Services at NJVC.

According to Jackson, the government will be forced to take a deep look to cloud world, even if this will happen over 10 or 15 years. „Migration to the cloud is inevitable. Will be needed, at least with regard to Europe, to escape of the terror called the United States. And that because, at this moment, the first cloud companies are Google, Amazon, and eBay. And they are all US companies, and European governments see that as a threat to their own sovereignty”, concluded Kevin Jackson.

Problems of implementation in Europe

Despite the economic advantages, ultra high performance servers cloud computing face formidable obstacles in Europe. Strict legislation, approved somewhere in the midle of 90`s, provides rigid limitations on moving information outside of the 27 European Union Member States. In a bid to protect private information by aggressive marketing campaigns or even by hackers, these laws for nearly 15 years old prevents the free flow of data which involves cloud computing.

According to specialists, the limitations on cloud computing will not kill business in Europe, but it certainly slows progress compared to the U.S. market. However, U.S. companies in IT - Microsoft, Google, HP and Oracle - alone or in partnership with local IT firms developing new ways to make cloud computing industry to operate European legal landscape, extremely puzzling.

And it will be just too expensive to hire people to custom-design, build, and deliver these systems.

To provide or not to provide local cloud service?

Another problem that slows down, now, implementation of open source software in public institutions in Romania and in other european countries is what choice to make: it may be better to invest in having a domestic cloud infrastructure, even if you don't have the scale to be commercially successful, or call the existing cloud infrastructure of a foreign power because is cheaper?

According to Kevin, „you may only have 10 million people in Belgium, but is 10 million people in a single time zone enough scale to leverage cloud computing? Will you ever see a Belgian cloud service provider? And if United States companies become the largest cloud providers in the world, will that make the United States the key information superpower? I don`t belive this, but it is a problem that European governments must deal with”.

In the next 10 years, European Union will have to make some painful choices: remain in The United States coast, going into the hands of current providers of clouds, or to invest in creating their own cloud, with the risk of increasing the gap between EU and his opponent number one, The United States. But whatever will be the final choice, the first step that will be done is to amend existing legislation on the free flow of information within the EU.

Romania, missed chance

As regards Romania, and open source implementation of IT systems at central and local government, obstacles will be removed primarily related to mentality, identifying real needs and the renunciation of political clientelism in favor of actual experience and professionalism. As one who was part of the budgetary and saw with his own eyes how people are promoted and how the procurement plans, but especially the winners list!, are made, this seems hardly feasible at this time. So that remains nothing to do but to see how real opportunities are drowned in the desperate chase for paying policy. Both political and economic.