While cloud services have been available for many years now, we’ve been waiting for the year when the range of services available and the rate of adoption hit critical mass. Across all levels of government and for both K-12 and Higher Education agencies, departments, and districts are moving past the concerns that once hampered adoption and embracing the benefits of moving services and data to the cloud.
Here are our top four stories that exemplify the challenges and successes that government agencies and educational institutions are facing as they embrace the cloud.

• The education sector has definitely been leading the way when it’s come to cloud adoption. For K-12 schools there have been a couple of main drivers – the move to digital learning and the adoption of Common Core standards, which require online components for graduation. The major issue that this sector is facing is the rapid pace of change – from student-driven desire for more and more devices at school, to ever-evolving curriculum mandates. For IT departments in the education sector looking to weather these storms and develop a long-term strategy Patrick Loughlin, director of state and local government and education for NetApp, shared his thoughts on how goal setting can help set the stage for an IT environment that can keep up with changes.

• Where the education sector is setting the pace, state and local government agencies are facing more challenges than ever as they search for the right solutions to enable their organizations and communities to meet the challenges of the 21st Century. Not only do government agencies and citizens have high expectations for what they should be able to accomplish online, but CIOs need to figure out how to store this data, make it accessible, and also do this all to the highest security specifications. Did we forget to mention they need to do this all on a tight budget? Are you a state or local government CIO looking for a little holiday miracle in this area? Check out these best practices gleaned from state and local CIOs around the country.

• Kirk Kern, Chief Technology Officer for Cloud Technologies, NetApp Public Sector, offered a timely reminder that if your organization is migrating information and services to the cloud, a critical part of the re-architecting process is to determine which information needs to stay on premise, and which can be put in the cloud. In turn, these considerations can also determine the best type of cloud infrastructure – public, private, or hybrid – for your organization. To read his five key strategies for re-architecting systems for the cloud click here.

• Interested in learning how one government agency successfully migrated to the cloud? The National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California, is the world’s largest laser facility, and their mission is to conduct research using lasers to improve national security, better understand the universe, and develop renewable energy sources for the future. With such an important mission, NIF needed to leverage the cloud for to provide the data processing and storage its scientists required all within a secure and highly available environment. Click here to watch Tim Frazier, NIF’s Chief Information Officer, discuss the possibilities that migration to the cloud has enabled.