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October 03, 2013

Pros & Cons to Community Cloud Solutions for Government Agencies

In this blog we will be taking a look at the community cloud and outlining some of the pros and cons associated with choosing this deployment model.

Federal agencies looking to take advantage of most of the benefits of private cloud while still paying slightly less will likely look into a community cloud solution.

In a community cloud, infrastructure is shared by several organizations and supports a specific community that has shared concerns (e.g. mission, security requirements, policy or compliance considerations1. It may be managed by the organizations or a third party and may exist on premise or off premise.

In this deployment model, the costs are spread over fewer users than a public cloud (but more than a private cloud1, so only some of the cost savings potential of cloud computing are realized. Essentially, a community cloud is a public cloud with fewer organizations in it.

For example, the Department of Defense and some intelligence agencies have launched data center improvement initiatives using a community cloud. This enables them to easily share data with other agencies in the community cloud, while still keeping it secure and controlled.

Another industry taking advantage of community clouds is the healthcare industry. There is a lot of movement around HIPAA-compliant clouds, where everyone in the community is supporting patients and exchanging data in a controlled way.

While the concept of community clouds is not new, adoption by the federal government has been slow on this model to date.

Community Cloud – Pros

  • Ability to easily share and collaborate
  • Lower cost

Community Cloud – Cons

  • Not the right choice for every organization
  • Slow adoption to date

Like the private cloud solution, the community cloud has areas where it can greatly benefit agencies, but it’s also not the right solution in all circumstances.

cloud, federal