Last year, we were excited about the effort initiated by the U.S. government to promote cloud adoption through the Cloud First initiative. Through this initiative, the federal government declared that taxpayers' money should be used in a more productive way, and having the government run its own data centers (more than 2,000 of them) didn't make sense. They’ve targeted the shutdown of more than 1,000 in what they call their “year of change in federal IT,” saving more than $2 billion in taxpayer money. Through leading by example, the federal government went Google with several large agencies including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Government Services Agency (GSA). They join other public entities like the states of Wyoming, and Utah, Washington DC, and the cities of Orlando and Pittsburgh. Also, quasi-public entities have embraced Google Apps, including more than 61 of the top 100 U.S. universities.
In 2012, we hope to see the same movement in Europe. On January 26th, the European Commission's Vice President Neelie Kroes announced at the World Economic Forum in Davos the European Cloud Partnership, and they're backing it with an investment of 10 million EUR to create "a strong common basis for cloud procurement by public authorities." Commissioner Kroes also addressed many of the concerns about local clouds in a decisive way:
“There is one thing that does not make sense and I want to be clear about it: The Cloud Partnership, and indeed our overall Cloud Computing strategy, is not about building a European super-cloud, neither outright nor by forcing the integration of existing public cloud infrastructures. Cloud business models, and the set-up of cloud suppliers' and publicly-run data centres, should be determined by efficiency considerations on the market.”
We believe that the European Cloud Partnership will be a positive thing for public authorities, not just in Europe, but around the world. According to recent studies, the Internet already accounts on average for 3.4% of GDP in a group of 13 emerging and developed economies, helps to spur economic growth and initiatives like this will help to promote its positive economic impact further.