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Clouds condensing on government ICT policy radar

Steve Hodgkinson | Aug. 4, 2009
Cloud computing paints a vision of a seamless, free market, global computing services nirvana but what does this mean for the vitality of an individual countrys ICT industry?

Governments and national telcos step forward?

In practice, leadership of the strategy for a countrys participation in cloud computing must come from the government, using two main levers: industry policy and the governments own internal ICT spend. Governments need to decide how they should add momentum to the development of onshore clouds.

The capital investment requirements mean that there are not too many other players in a countrys domestic market with the motivation and resources required to build cloud computing infrastructure in competition with the global ICT giants. The largest national telcos are perhaps the best candidates to partner with governments in the quest for a national cloud at least they have some of the required resources and are similarly focused on a largely national, as opposed to global, market.

Alternatively, governments could partner with the global cloud providers to stimulate the development of local nodes of the global clouds or to create g-clouds.

Either way, as cloud computing becomes more mainstream it will be in the national interest to have commercially robust onshore cloud providers. Governments need to think ahead on this one rather than being caught unawares by the curious disappearance of their local ICT industry.

Steve Hodgkinson is a research director in government at Ovum


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