January 23, 2012 – A pattern of regional cloud computing hubs will emerge in the next few years as community agencies and local governments optimize private deployments at the state level, according to a new report from research firm IDC.

The report from IDC’s government consulting division defines these regional cloud outlets as a government agency – most likely a state – offering computing services to other government agencies. Central to this is the small but growing trend of cooperative arrangements between state governments and their related agencies and communities to leverage a shared private cloud for SaaS, IaaS, storage and on-demand security.

High-volume state contracts provide a price tag that these smaller government agencies could never meet, and these regional clouds also work to standardize data and streamline reporting tools, according to IDC. It also comes as more state and local governments look to mirror cost savings found by the federal government in data center closures and consolidations.

Shawn P. McCarthy, IDC research director and author of the report, says state governments are uniquely positioned to provide their smaller agency counterparts with the scale and reliable cloud environments for widely used data. McCarthy points to the development of cloud hubs used by separate multiple agencies in Michigan and Utah, respectively, as a bellwether for a deployment trend nationwide.

“Their user base of local subscribers is small at this time, [but] we expect this to grow because price points appear competitive and because end users are looking for innovative ways to consolidate their own IT infrastructures,” he says, adding that community college systems have been quick to shift to this regional cloud model, too.

IDC states that these regional cloud hubs require little to no capital expenditures to include access to outside agencies, with development done in-house or commercially like any other private cloud. However, the government cloud host could sell cloud solutions from these regional hubs to other agencies. IDC also stated that this regional model has the potential to replace internal client/server systems as the primary method of government application delivery.

To access the report, “Best Practices: Regional and Community Cloud Hubs – The New ‘Trickle Down’ Effect That’s Boosting State and Local Computing,” click here.

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