Sep 22 2015

Cloud Computing Just Got Easier, Thanks to the Gov Cloud Shopper

Using the tool, agencies can get a better idea of how much it will cost to move to the cloud.

Due to the frustrating limitations of their existing IT systems, federal agencies are embracing cloud computing. Upgrading an IT system is like purchasing a new car: The benefits and the needs are obvious, but cost can be a concern. With the end of the federal fiscal year approaching, many agencies interested in the cloud’s advantages are equally curious about what they’d spend on it. A new tool will help them do that.

Last week, MeriTalk held an informational session about calculating cloud costs. When FedRAMP411 was introduced as a new source for information, in May, the Gov Cloud Shopper was identified as an integral feature. During last week’s discussion, a more in-depth explanation of what the tool can do was offered.

In addition to offering a sense of the overall expense, the Gov Cloud Shopper provides specific line items. MeriTalk founder Steve O’Keeffe compared the process to “getting a quote to have your car fixed.” Department of Transportation (DoT) Chief Technology Officer Maria Roat added that determining pricing is as instrumental to migrating to the cloud as it is to her own responsibilities.

“Building partnerships with program offices to help them move to the cloud is a big part of my job,” Roat explained. However, she was quick to point out that agencies must be cognizant of any potential sanctions they may face when seeking quotes from the tool: “The agency is still responsible for looking at authorization and making sure it’s an appropriate task for the agency.”

O’Keeffe confirmed that the use of Gov Cloud Shopper has ramped up, now that the federal fiscal year is nearly over. “We are seeing a significant uptick, and we expect to see more as the fiscal year draws to a close.” Still, he was adamant that the tool provides only an estimate, not an exact quote, of what users could expect to pay when moving to the cloud. Roat admitted that the tool still has kinks that need to be worked out, but they shouldn’t deter current or potential users.

“The tool is not perfect, [but we will] continue to adapt it,” she said.