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Updated by Charles Bystock on 08/28/2014

wyoming_cloud_computing_secretsThis just in: The state of Wyoming has announced it’s moving to the cloud. What does that mean for you? It’s no secret that government entities as well as private enterprise companies around the world are grappling with issues surrounding cloud computing and data centers.

Wyoming was the first state to adopt Google Apps for Government, and that was three years ago. That decision enabled employees statewide to use Google docs and other teamwork tools, and it enabled the state to consolidate 13 email systems. And here’s a little secret: they now buy only a quarter of the Microsoft licenses they used to purchase.

In this latest move, Wyoming is downsizing from two data centers to one. Within the next six months, they will move physical equipment from the closing data center to a commercial colocation facility, where they will still have management responsibility. The remaining data center will be transitioned in the same way by 2016.

It’s the next step toward the state’s goal of moving to cloud computing. Wyoming CIO, Flint Waters, says he needs to “get out of the business of buying computers and start buying computing.”

Wyoming may be the secret leader of the pack, but other states aren’t far behind.

Just like private companies, states are looking for ways to capitalize on the cloud to increase productivity and decrease costs. And just like private enterprise, they’re taking different paths tailored to meet their unique needs.

In California, IBM is creating a private cloud that will be able to deliver as much as 80% of the state’s IT services. IBM will train state IT personnel to manage the system, because it will be housed in the state’s data centers. And across the country in Pennsylvania, the state is outsourcing to Unisys to handle data center operations via a cloud delivery system.

The secret is out: the cloud is in your future, too.

Last year, Bettercloud’s Gail Axelrod noted some interesting statistics that relate to cloud computing and data centers:

  • In 2012, 38% of businesses were already using cloud computing, and 29% more said they were planning to add cloud services.
  • Worldwide, 27% of business e-mailboxes are cloud-based.
  • By 2018, more than 30% of computing workloads will probably run in the public cloud.

It’s no secret: there are always trade-offs.

It’s not a matter of choosing between cloud computing and data centers, because most organizations have figured out they need both, to some degree. The question becomes what degree?

You have to outfit and maintain your data centers, and protect them physically as well as from data intrusions, but you’re in complete control. You don’t have to worry about the physical side with cloud computing, but you also have less control, so you must be certain your provider is vigilant.

Because data centers are fixed, so is their capacity, unless you physically expand. The cloud offers virtually unlimited scalability. It also supports remote, 24/7 access, something that has become a necessity for every enterprise.

Industry-watchers say a shift in functionality is the secret to cloud computing and data centers. Transitioning to the cloud for more services means you’ll be using your retained data centers differently. You can configure a unique arrangement of public, private and hybrid cloud solutions.

The key is knowing what to retain and what you can loft into the cloud to enhance productivity and cost-effectiveness as well as ensure greater future agility. And how you adopt cloud computing will affect your data centers. The “secret sauce” for each enterprise will be finding the right balance, especially knowing the future is in many ways unknowable.

Robotics and automation are often cited as the secrets to success in data centers of the future. They won’t necessarily replace IT personnel, but freeing your skilled people from everyday tasks that can be automated enables them to focus on work of a more strategic nature.

photo credit: Stuck in Customs via photopin cc