Making use of Cloud approaches such as virtualization and automation is something Australian government agencies shouldn't overlook, as it is a way to try Cloud computing without the risks, according to Unisys outsourcing expert Wayne Allen.
Allen told delegates at the Cloud Computing Forum in Canberra that many Australian government agencies are "gun shy" about moving to a Cloud environment because of the potential risks.
In-depth: Cloud computing strategy guide.
"Because they are so tired of the hype around Cloud computing, agencies risk overlooking the potential for other Cloud-like approaches such as virtualization," Allen said. "These approaches, traditionally used to prepare an IT environment for Cloud, can reduce costs and make IT infrastructure more scalable and modular."
To demonstrate the reluctance of government agencies when it comes to Cloud deployment, Allen cited a Unisys survey conducted with 111 respondents at the CA World Expos series held in Australia during July 2011, which found that 57 per cent of government respondents run no applications in the Cloud.
Further, only 9 per cent of government organisations surveyed said they would put greater focus on virtualizing and automating the existing environment when asked what they would do differently next time they implemented Cloud into the IT environment.
Commercial organisations, on the other hand, were found to be much less reluctant compared to government organisations, with only 36 per cent of commercial organisations saying they run no applications in the Cloud and 25 per cent saying they would put greater focus on virtualizing and automating the existing environment.
Allen said government agencies face many of the same IT issues as commercial organisations face such as managing capacity and streamlining processes. "They are also faced with a unique set of risks ranging from citizen expectations around data security and privacy, through to requirements for data sovereignty and the impact of acts such as the US Patriot Act," he said.
"This is why using virtualization means it is possible to gain the benefits of being 'Cloud-like'."
Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick
Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU