Once upon a time, the federal IT market used to resemble an old fashioned country story. You could definitely buy a lot of things, but it was likely that the choices of brand, color, and flavor were very limited. If you wanted to buy a shirt you could, but only red flannel shirts were available, in much the same way government IT buyers were limited to buying a certain set of cloud services from a limited number of vendors.

Many government IT leaders realized that this was not an ideal situation for agencies both in terms of its impact on innovation and the bottom line.  So, through initiatives like FedRAMP there’s been a tremendous growth in options for agencies to run their applications and store their data.  But the increasing number of options brings its own dilemmas.  First, there’s the process of evaluating more options and then there’s an aspect that’s really not been factored into IT planning, because up until now it hasn’t been an option: what happens if you decide to change vendors, or store data in multiple clouds? Is your data portable?

In a recent post over at Government Gurus, Mary Jean Schmitt, Federal Business Development Manager, NetApp, discusses these and other questions that government IT leaders will face as the cloud marketplace opens up.   We’ve included an excerpt below, and then click on the link at the end to read the full article.

Packing up and moving to a new cloud environment is fast becoming a viable option. Such a move can make fiscal sense or make data and applications more accessible. Storing data in multiple clouds – public, private or hybrid – also is an option that’s gaining momentum.

With these big changes on the horizon, agencies will face important decisions. Is it best to leave data where it is, or pack up and move for one of the many cloud provider environments? And what’s the best way to move large volumes of data?

Data portability is a challenge, but it’s one that agencies can overcome, and agencies need to be careful that they don’t take a wrong turn. Data is one of an agency’s most important assets, so they have to begin thinking today about how they can move and store it tomorrow…