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What the FAA's $100 million cloud investment means for the industry

In a big move earlier this week, the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) inked a deal worth more than a hundred million dollars with Computer Sciences Corporation to provide cloud computing services.

The deal generated quite a bit of news coverage earlier this week, but we want to take a moment to explain why this is such a big development and what it could mean for the cloud computing industry.

Over the past few years the Federal government has emerged as one of the most aggressive proponents of cloud technologies, and numerous federal agencies have begun to move data and services into the cloud.

It should come as no surprise then that the Federal Aviation Authority has a big interest in cloud computing. When it comes to air safety, speed and coordination are essential and cloud computing makes it easy for teams and people to coordinate over vast distances. This helps explain why the FAA just forked over $108 million dollars to Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) to handle the federal agency’s cloud computing needs.

In this case, CSC has promised to deliver cost effective data center consolidation and cloud migration capabilities, among other things.

Specifically, CSC will be working to consolidate the FAA’s vast network of data centers, and to migrate the agency’s data and hardware systems into a sort of hybrid cloud platform. CSC will be using its own Agility Platform to handle cloud management, and to deliver an effective and efficient migration to the cloud. The company won’t be working on its own, however.

CSC will be using cloud services provided by Amazon and Microsoft in order to handle the FAA’s cloud demand. Over the course of the next 10 years, the deal with the FAA could be worth as much as a billion dollars. Both companies will be providing the data space necessary for the FAA to migrate data into the cloud. While Amazon is most well-known as an online retailer, and Microsoft is known for its ubiquitous computer operating system, the recent FAA deal supports the growing belief that cloud computing could emerge as one of the most important business segments for both companies.

What’s perhaps most interesting about the FAA’s investment is how large of an investment they are making at a time of across the board budget cuts. The United States government is under a lot of pressure to cut costs, and big deals tend to carry a lot of scrutiny. For the Federal Aviation Authority, however, cloud computing could potentially turn out to be big a money saver. Investments in cloud computing have the potential to deliver huge savings, especially in regards to hardware and data storage costs.

That’s why it wouldn’t be a surprise to see investments in cloud computing actually ramp up as the Federal government looks to cut costs. By consolidating data centers and working with industry leaders, like Amazon and Microsoft, the American government may actually be able to cut costs, all while increasing the quality of services provided.

The FAA is making some of the most aggressive moves, right now, but in the future cloud computing should be a big investment for the Federal government as a whole.