Amazon, Google and other cloud storage companies have found great success in the private sector by offering storage solutions to consumers and companies alike. Negotiating contracts with the public sector is an entirely different beast altogether, but Amazon has emerged as a major player in the field.
Amazon announced today that over 300 government agencies and 1,500 public education institutions are now using Amazon Web Services. Some of these agencies and education institutions include major players like NASA, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, MIT, University of Oxford, and the University of California - Berkeley.
“Government agencies and education institutions are rapidly accelerating their adoption of the AWS Cloud as organizations worldwide realize that they can be more innovative, agile and efficient by using the cloud for their technology infrastructure,” said Teresa Carlson, Vice President of Worldwide Public Sector, AWS. “In addition, with initiatives such as the US Federal Cloud First mandate and the European Cloud Partnership, organizations are looking for ways to quickly move new and existing business and mission workloads to the cloud in a secure, compliant and cost-effective manner. With the new services and features added today in AWS GovCloud, public sector customers now have greater capabilities to rapidly design, build and deploy high performance applications with AWS’s scalable, secure, low-cost platform.”
One of the more interesting uses of Amazon Web Services is the CDC BioSense 2.0. It's a cloud-based public health monitoring service that allows the CDC to collect data from over 2,000 facilities and quickly respond to new health threats. The CDC said that the switching to the cloud is saving the agency is saving them money while creating additional jobs.
As for public universities, Amazon Web Services has given out $4 million in grants to 350 universities in 35 countries to help implement AWS projects in the classroom and across campus. One of those programs is taking place at the University of San Francisco where students use AWS in the Masters in Analytics program to give them real-world experience in analyzing large quantities of data. Students can now run large-scale data sets without the need for additional expensive hardware.
Amazon has obviously been busy in the public sector, but what about their main competition? Google Apps for Government, which includes Google Drive, has been adopted by governments in 45 states. A lot of agencies probably use both services, but it would be interesting to see the number of agencies who use Google App Engine over AWS for their cloud-based application needs.
Either way, government agencies have been pushing hard for more cloud integration after the introduction of the Cloud First Mandate last year. The deadline for the mandate was June 8, 2012, but it remains to be seen how many government agencies actually moved their existing IT services to the cloud by that time. Regardless, AWS is obviously profiting from the government's move to the cloud.