Senate Bill 532 Pushes Cloud Computing for State Agencies

Texas Policy Spotlight

Texas Senate bill 532 requires state agencies to compile a report on the state of their IT infrastructure, including an inventory of servers, mainframes and other IT equipment, as well an evaluation of security and operational risks. While we think it’s practical and necessary that our government agencies evaluate the state of their infrastructure and its costs, we believe the author unnecessarily, and perhaps unwittingly, pushes public cloud services and dismisses other options for IT infrastructure.

The bill states, “a state agency shall consider cloud computing service options, including any cost savings associated with purchasing those service options from a cloud computing service provider…”

While cloud computing is a broad term, one that can include both public and private cloud options, many will interpret “cloud computing service provider” to mean major cloud providers such as Amazon’s AWS, Azure or Google Cloud Platform.

The author of the bill also fails to mention an array of other infrastructure options available to organizations, such as virtualization, dedicated hosting, dedicated storage and colocation. Just to be clear, Data Foundry does not house any government infrastructure in our data centers, nor do we desire to do so. However, we believe this bill unfairly limits options and excludes other companies that might otherwise be considered for government infrastructure contracts, such as Rackspace or Zadara. It also limits the government’s options, and public cloud computing is not always the best course of action. In fact, it often is not.

For example, in the private sector, most companies are finding that a hybrid cloud model best meets their financial and security needs, which is a combination of using public cloud providers and owning some of their own infrastructure. This data can be found in RightScale’s 2016 State of the Cloud report.

SB 532 leads agencies to assume that public cloud computing will be the cheaper and more secure option for state government agencies for the foreseeable future. For this bill to have a higher rating, we believe it should use a more general term such as “infrastructure services” or “infrastructure and data storage models” to ensure that agencies examine all the options available to them and not just public cloud services. Government agencies should be encouraged to make their IT infrastructure decisions without bias and based on factors like cost, security requirements, needs and the laws that govern them.

Senate bill 532 rating: 3

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