The project’s body of knowledge about the migration of public services into the Cloud is now available in STORM CLOUDS’ Smart City Platform
An introduction to cloud computing
Cloud computing has received great attention during the last decade as an emerging paradigm beyond a simple computing system structure (1). In simplified terms, it can be understood as the possibility to store, process and use data on remotely located computers accessed over the internet (2). It is an all-inclusive solution (3) based on the concepts of converged infrastructure, shared services/resources and dynamic reallocation based on demand. Cloud computing has the potential to bring significant benefits to its users (citizens, businesses, government) such as cost savings, increased efficiency, user-friendliness, accelerated innovation (4).
What is Cloud Computing?
“Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction” (5).
Why smart cities need cloud computing?
City governments and municipalities everywhere constitute for one thing complex public organisations which have more reasons to invest in cloud computing than any other public organisation. It is widely accepted that increasing urbanisation strains the limited resources of cities and affects its resilience, while at the same time, it highlights the significance of sustainable urban development, especially in terms of more efficient management of natural resources, such as energy and water, as well as of better planning and collaborative decision making (6). In this context, cloud computing can play a significant role facilitating cities in meeting the abovementioned tasks.
What are the current initiatives and emerging trends with regards to public sector cloud adoption in different countries?
As part of these technological developments and the expansion of the information society market, but also due to the need for an exit strategy in response to economic recession, multinational companies are investing in cloud computing on a large scale, while countries are politically encouraging cloud computing. Over the last years, the United States of America, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, China and so on, quickly undertake actions with regards to policies and services on cloud computing, although most of them are driven by the need to reduce costs and move towards a digital environment.
More specifically, the United States inaugurated in 2009 the Federal Cloud Computing Initiative (FCCI) as part of the IT-based integration of federal governments and public institutions, while a year later released a “25 point implementation plan to reform Federal Information Technology Management’ which included a ‘cloud first’ policy shift of all federal agencies. Since the FCCI, a number of other supporting and complementary government initiatives and programmes appeared (e.g. TechStat, Apps.gov, PortfolioStat, Standards Acceleration to Jumpstart Adoption of Cloud Computing, CIO Council Executive Cloud Computing Steering Committee etc.) forming an integrated effort for cloud computing adoption by the US government.
The Australian Government following the release of the ‘Cloud Computing Strategic Direction Paper’ announced that it would develop a National Cloud Computing Strategy, recognising the synergies between the National Broadband Network and cloud computing, but also the importance of cloud computing in achieving greater efficiency in government, greater value from ICT investments and better service delivery in a more agile public sector. Especially in the case of government agencies, the Australian Government in its report ‘Government Cloud Computing Policy’ offers recommendations in procuring and using cloud services.
Japan is simultaneously promoting two strategies: the ‘Kasumigaseki project’ for the central government departments and the ‘local government cloud’ for local governments. Hong Kong’s Government IT Strategy for 2011 focuses on cloud computing, while South Korea’s Communication Commission allocated about $500 million for the development of Korean Cloud Computing facilities.
Europe, on the other hand, despite the initiatives of various member states (such as G-Cloud in the UK, Trusted Cloud in Germany, and Andromede in France) is lagging behind in the take up of cloud computing mainly due to lack of regulatory consistency and to technologically conservative policies. The European Commission has recognized the need for rapid adoption of cloud computing in all sectors of the economy and has therefore set as a priority the development of a wide European single market for cloud services. In 2012, the Commission has released a strategy for ‘Unleashing the Potential of Cloud Computing in Europe’.
According to the Steering Board of the European Cloud Partnership the adoption of cloud in Europe is being currently impeded by different legal, technical, operational and economic barriers which arise depending on the case. In order to address these problems it proposes a) the creation of a common framework of best practices (legal and operational guidelines, technical standards etc.) which can be voluntarily adopted by cloud service providers and b) building of a wider consensus among public authorities, citizens, stakeholders and the cloud industry on the needs of specific case studies and on appropriate solutions (privacy and security requirements, legislative reform, enforcement methods etc.).
All the above mentioned strategic texts, reports, surveys, papers, etc. plus more other are collected and are available in the STORM CLOUDS’ Smart City Platform as a cloud computing and public sector services body of Knowledge. STORM CLOUDS’ body of knowledge consists an extensive library of up to 100 reports and strategic texts that may support public stakeholders, private companies and discipline students and researchers. The library is organized in various categories and tags for better navigation such as: General Cloud environment, implementation roadmap, monitoring, privacy, Selection of provider, selection of services, cloud computing sustainability, cloud computing policy, cloud computing for public sector, national strategy.
- Seo, J., Min, J. and Lee, H. (2014) Implementation Strategy for a Public Service Based on Cloud Computing at the Government, International Journal of Software Engineering and its Applications, Vol. 8, No. 9, pp. 207-220
- European Commission (EC) (2012) ‘Unleashing the Potential of Cloud Computing in Europe’, Brussels, 27.9.2012, COM(2012) 529 final
- Mahmood, Z. (2015) (eds.) Cloud Computing Technologies for Connected Government (Advances in Electronic Government, Digital Divide, and Regional Development), IGI Global, p. 417
- European Cloud Partnership Steering Board (ECPSB) (2014) Establishing a Trusted Cloud Europe: A policy vision document by the Steering Board of the European Cloud Partnership, Final Report prepared for the European Commission, DG Communication Networks, Content & Technology
- Mell, P. and Grance, T. (2011) The NIST Definition of Cloud Computing: Recommendations of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), U.S. Department of Commerce
- Khan, Z., Anjum, A., Soomro, K., Atif Tahir, M. (2015) Towards cloud based big data analytics for smart future cities, Journal of Cloud Computing: Advances, Systems and Applications, Vol. 4, No. 2, pp. 1-11