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Education Department Weighing Move to the Cloud

With widespread budget cuts throughout the United States federal government, agencies are looking for ways to maintain timely, objective execution while saving money. As a result, cloud computing has received considerable acknowledgement from public organizations that have recognized the prosperity of private enterprises flourishing under cloud storage.

According to a survey conducted by Computer Economics, businesses that have fully adopted cloud services to manage their operational and storage capabilities save on average more than 15 percent in IT expenses, whether measured as a percentage of revenue or on a per-user basis. The savings come from both a reduction in data center costs as well as IT personnel expenditures. 

"As a result of these economic efficiencies, cloud users are able to devote a higher percentage of their IT spending to new initiatives and less to ongoing support," the article noted. "The strategic benefits in speed, scalability and agility argue in favor of organizations moving aggressively to the cloud."

The study yielded responses from a wide variety of cloud server users, consisted of two manufacturing companies, a life sciences enterprise, a wholesale distributor, a systems integrator, and an online content provider. The seven organizations each accumulate between $50 million and $550 million in annual revenues. 

A public platform for the government sector 
NextGov reported that the United States Education Department is strongly considering moving its Literacy Information and Communication System (LINCS) to a public â€‹cloud platform, which would be provided by a private hosting company. LINCS offers teaching strategies, interactive training applications, and moderated discussions for adult literacy educators and learners. 

Currently, LINCS is housed on a hardware storage system located at a secure facility in Annapolis, M€‹aryland. The program operates through the medium of a private cloud solution. 

The report noted that the organization is considering contracting its service out to a private cloud hosting service. That type of solution is typically much cheaper than government-owned environments or data centers, primarily because public agencies can be billed on a pay-per-use basis. 

Although the Education Department hasn't committed to the transition, the promise of improved scalability and accessibility at a fraction of the cost of its current operation remains tempting. The users of the LINCS would be able to obtain the useful tools that have been assisting educators much quicker. Furthermore, the amount of Big Data the Department collects will no longer be limited to the rigidly defined amount of storage space available with its current platform. 

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