Three Quarters of Feds Want to Date the Cloud – More Than Half Afraid to Get Married

Forty-seven percent not very happy with cloud marriages; Sixty-five percent are not preparing adequately before they walk down the aisle

ALEXANDRIA, Va.--()--MeriTalk, a public-private partnership focused on improving the outcomes of government IT, today announced the results of its new report, “Cloud Without the Commitment.” The study, underwritten by Red Hat and Cisco, examines Federal barriers to cloud adoption – and it reveals opportunities to amp up the cloud love. Interestingly, 75 percent of Federal cloud users want to move more services to the cloud, but are concerned about retaining control over their data. Additionally, 53 percent say fear of long-term contracts hold them back.

Data integration and portability issues are also top of mind. Fifty-eight percent of Feds say cloud/legacy system integration is a barrier to further migration, 57 percent cite the inability to move data from existing legacy systems to the cloud, and 54 percent cite concerns with moving data once it is in the cloud. Further, agencies estimate that 32 percent of their data cannot be moved to the cloud due to security or data sovereignty issues and almost a quarter of agencies – 23 percent – are not comfortable passing sensitive Federal data to even FedRAMP-certified cloud providers.

Overall, just half of Feds, 53 percent, rate their cloud experiences as very successful. But, Feds who use/are open to using open source are seeing greater cloud success than the average. Seventy-two percent say data security has improved by moving services to the cloud in the past year versus 47 percent of those not using/open to using open source options. Fifty-six percent say they are very satisfied with cloud agility versus 34 percent of their peers.

“Open source is not only driving much of the technology innovation in cloud, it is also enabling government agencies to answer their questions about cloud portability and integration,” says Mike Byrd, senior director, Government Channel Sales, Red Hat. “In this way, it is not surprising to me that the survey respondents who have embraced open source reported greater cloud success.”

Feds are also finding that outside expertise can be helpful – 56 percent have worked with a consultant to conduct a readiness assessment and help navigate cloud migration and have rated their experiences as “very helpful.”

Feds may need to date smarter. Sixty-five percent reported they are not completing a workload analysis to define the data/services/workloads to migrate to the cloud or centralizing IT governance; and 60 percent are not developing a cost model.

This said, pushed by Cloud First and bolstered by FedRAMP, Feds are testing the waters. Nineteen percent say they deliver more than one-quarter of their agency’s IT services fully or partially via cloud. Some services are moving faster than others. Predictably, email is first – 50 percent of those who have implemented cloud say they have moved email. Additionally, 45 percent report they have moved Web hosting, and 43 percent have migrated servers/storage. Fewer have migrated middleware/development tools (19 percent), ERP solutions (26 percent), and disaster recovery (31 percent), among others.

“Particularly with mission-critical systems, Feds want assurance they can integrate with legacy tools, and easily migrate data between the two,” says Mike Younkers, director, US Federal Systems Engineering, Cisco. “Open source opens up new options. And, Feds using open source are reporting positive results.”

“Feds don’t have to always be the bridesmaid when it comes to cloud,” says Steve O’Keeffe, founder, MeriTalk. “Connect with peers who have been down the aisle. And if you feel locked in – get a good prenup. Cloud is all about choice and agility. Otherwise, we end up back where we started.”

For those looking to walk down the cloud aisle, Feds recommend the following:

  • Start Small: Feds have found success in the cloud by first migrating services with fewer security/privacy concerns and less reliability/operational risk. Build a model for success
  • Ensure Your Provider Fits: Each agency has unique needs. Ensure your cloud provider can integrate cloud data with legacy systems
  • Consider Open Options: It’s not results, but fear of commitment that holds Feds back from further cloud adoption. Explore solutions that deliver long-term flexibility

The “Cloud Without the Commitment” report is based on an online survey of 150 Federal cloud users in December 2014. The report has a margin of error of +/- 7.97 percent at a 95 percent confidence level. To download the full study, please visit:

About MeriTalk

The voice of tomorrow’s government today, MeriTalk is a public-private partnership focused on improving the outcomes of government IT. Focusing on government’s hot-button issues, MeriTalk hosts Big Data Exchange, Cloud Computing Exchange, Cyber Security Exchange, and Data Center Exchange – platforms dedicated to supporting public-private dialogue and collaboration. MeriTalk connects with an audience of 85,000 government community contacts. For more information, visit or follow us on Twitter, @meritalk. MeriTalk is a 300Brand organization.


Amy Pasquarello, 703-883-9000 ext. 146

Release Summary

MeriTalk today announced the results of its new report, “Cloud Without the Commitment.” The study, underwritten by Red Hat and Cisco, examines Federal barriers to cloud adoption.


Amy Pasquarello, 703-883-9000 ext. 146