Everyone should be aware that we have mandates to lower power consumption in our Government data centers.  Executive order 13423 challenged the government to lower power consumption 3% year over year through 2015.  There is a golden opportunity in the government sector for cloud computing.  It is important however to balance risk to reward but for the vast amount of already public facing data, it makes sense to use cloud services as there is very little risk and great reward.  Consider tax time.  During tax season the IRS gets slammed with publication downloads and tax form downloads not to mention uploads for e-filing returns. 

To maintain that infrastructure for the IRS, each state and locality that takes in taxes is a waste.  But what if a cloud existed that allowed all the public facing forms and publications to sit on a cloud during tax season?  At the end of the bandwidth bum rush, the bill would return to zero and the taxing authorities could simply accept returns with far lower bandwidth requirements. 

Tax forms that contain personal information, on the other hand, require careful security.  I certainly don’t feel comfortable plopping my personal information up into a cloud that I don’t know who administers or how sporty their security is on any given day.  So assuming that we leave that portion to the systems they are currently on and we offload the public facing information, ½ the data demands disappear. 

So if we follow the public facing, low risk theory, and we look through other government agencies, a cloud starts making more sense.  Even if the IRS built their own cloud, they could make resources available to other government agencies.  Maybe one public cloud and one private cloud, or a hybrid would do the trick.  States and municipalities would benefit by offloading their public facing information as well.  This means lower server requirements, storage requirements and bandwidth requirements in their local data centers/computer rooms throughout the country. 

In 2002, there were 19,000 registered municipal governments in the US.  If we saved one server in each, that is 19,000 servers, 38,000 network connections and power connections, plus 38,000 storage connections (assuming primary and secondary network, power and storage).  Add to that the power for all these devices and it seems pretty attractive especially as our deficit grows.  Assume $1500 per server and that is $28,500,000.  Assume that in 18 months the cost of a server is equaled in the power to run it and the number doubles.  Storage and networking could be equal to that and on and on…