A government cloud in Australia could be launched within 18 months, according to CSC CTO, Bob Hayward.
CSC is a major provider of IT services to the Federal Government and has established relationships with a number of agencies.
“There are a lot of conversations around a government cloud, particularly as a result of the Gershon initiative,” Hayward told ARN. “There seems to be intent and willingness and people are working on it but things are still quite murky.”
Hayward said the challenges facing a government cloud approach were more to do with inter-departmental struggles than the technology itself. He claimed shared services in a government cloud may not sit well with established agencies as they were hesitant to relinquish control over their IT assets.
“There are a lot of agencies in Canberra that are very proud and protective of their environments and status,” he said. “One agency might not be keen to give up control of that to another agency, so there are a fair amount of political issues to be dealt with.”
While a government cloud seems up in the air at this stage, CSC has been in talks with individual agencies looking to plough ahead with their own private or public cloud strategies.
The Federal Government has been watching the development of the UK Government’s cloud plans, which were officially unveiled in January. It is said to mirror systems used by Google and other large organisations. Hayward was confident the Australian Government will begin testing a cloud system by mid 2011.
“I would be very surprised if in the next 18 months, there wasn’t some tangible example of something about the government cloud,” Hayward said. “It may not be very big – maybe just a test or proof of concept – but I think it will definitely be there.”