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Private clouds showing up on IT's agenda

Private clouds showing up on IT's agenda

One in 10 companies deploying internal clouds

Just as Internet users can access Amazon, Google, Barnes & Noble or any Web site they wish to use from anywhere, Goodman wants hospital workers to be able to move among different devices and have the same experience.

"You get the advantage of taking that entire experience and making it roam without the nurse having to carry or push anything," he says. "They can move from device to device."

Goodman also says a cloud-based model where applications and desktops are delivered from a central data center will make data more secure, because it's not being stored on individual client devices.

"If we relocate that data to the data center by virtualizing the desktop, we can back it up, we can secure it, and we can provide that data to the user wherever they are," he says.

In the Washington, DC, government, Kundra came on board in March 2007 with the goal of establishing a DC.gov cloud that would blend services provided from his own data center with external cloud platforms like Google Apps. Washington moved aggressively toward server virtualization with VMware, and made sure it had enough network bandwidth to support applications hosted on DC.gov.

The move toward acting as an internal hosting provider as well as accessing applications outside the firewall required an increased focus on security and user credentials, Kundra says. But that was a necessary part of giving users the same kind of anytime, anywhere access to data and applications they enjoy as consumers of services in their personal lives.

"The line is blurred," he says. "It used to be you would come to work and only work. The blurring started with mobile technologies, BlackBerries, people doing work anytime, anywhere."

While Kundra and Goodman have begun thinking of themselves as internal cloud providers, many other IT shops view cloud computing solely as it relates to acquiring software-as-a-service and on-demand computing resources from external providers such as Salesforce.

"Cloud computing is definitely the hot buzzword," says Thomas Catalini, a member of the Society for Information Management and vice president of technology at insurance brokerage William Gallagher Associates. "To me it means outsourcing to a hosted provider. I would not think of it in terms of cloud computing to my own company. [Outsourcing] relieves me of having to buy hardware, software and staff to support a particular solution."


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