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California's Quest to Expand Cloud Services

The state is expanding enterprise service offerings in its private cloud and enlisting industry’s help to do it.

California’s recently released cloud-first policy is about more than getting state agencies to embrace an IT services model.

The California Department of Technology is eyeing cloud-based technologies and services that can be provided at an enterprise level across agencies. The goal is to expand those services and offer them through the Office of Technology Services (OTech), said state CIO Carlos Ramos.

“We’ve been in the cloud business for a while — in case anybody didn’t know,” Ramos said last week at TechWire’s State of Technology Industry Forum in Sacramento. In 2010, the state inked a deal for Microsoft cloud-based email, and it now has another bid out to industry. The state got into the infrastructure business this year, and it now offers services through CalCloud. The Infrastructure as a Service private cloud is located in OTech data centers.

Ramos urged companies to consider providing their cloud offerings through OTech as enterprise services, especially if demand for those services is statewide.

Ramos said he isn’t naïve about agencies’ current cloud investments. Some have worked directly with cloud companies to buy software applications and infrastructure services and are ahead of the state’s own cloud enterprise efforts.

Agencies have been instructed to procure enterprise services through OTech, but they have the liberty to use existing state contracts to buy the services that best meet their needs. If agencies work with commercial companies directly, they’re supposed to report what they buy and ensure that it meets security requirements. To ensure that cloud computing is a priority, agencies are required to evaluate cloud computing as an alternative investment for all IT projects.

“We came out with a cloud-first policy, one because cloud computing really does offer a faster time to market, a reduction in risk and hopefully a reduction in cost,” Ramos said.

Agencies will need help complying with the policy, assessing their IT investments and planning to transition services to the state’s data center. “This is a market that is ripe,” Ramos added.

“Our policy is pretty simple: cloud first.”

Read more about California's cloud-first policy and other IT news on The Tech Blog, which is managed by the California Department of Technology. The blog was named one of StateTech's 2014 Must-Read State and Local IT Blogs.

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Dec 16 2014

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