This week Microsoft held its U.S. Public Sector CIO Summit in Redmond, and while we’re used to rain this time of year in Seattle (and most of the year for that matter….), the forecast at the event for the Public Sector was mostly cloudy - cloud related technology that is.

With all the interest I’ve seen on my previous post about the Cloud First Policy for the U.S. Federal Government and Vivek Kundra’s paper on the Federal Cloud Computing Strategy, I wanted to do a quick follow up post to highlight the news from the CIO Summit, including a variety of customers adopting Microsoft’s cloud offerings.

Related to the Summit, Computerworld published a story on Microsoft’s CIO Tony Scott’s presentation at the event talking about some of his experiences with moving Microsoft to cloud services.  Tony’s team is responsible for managing the Microsoft IT environment, which the story says includes “over 200,000 Windows 7 and Office 2010 clients, 764,000 SharePoint sites, 1 million devices, 70,000 monthly Live Meeting sessions and the Microsoft.com website, which attracts 1.7 billion hits per day“.  In the story, Tony talks about the changing relationship between the CIO and CFO as well, which includes properly setting expectations that with cloud computing the conversation related to budgets begins to move away from hardware related ‘cap-ex’ expenses and to one of anticipating spiking ‘op-ex’ expenses, where the elastic nature of using cloud service usage needs to be taken into account.  I’ve also included a couple of links to previous blog posts (here and here) where Tony talks about the implications of cloud computing for CIOs.

Over on the Bright Side of Government blog, Gail Thomas-Flynn, Microsoft U.S. State & Local Government VP, has a post that includes highlights of over 500 state and local government organizations adopting Microsoft cloud offerings in 49 out of 50 U.S. states.  These include organizations such as the State of California, the State of Minnesota, and the Federal enterprise of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which was highlighted in this post.  Another recent adoptee, noted in this Seattle Times article, is the Portland Public Schools in the state of Oregon, which has more than 46,000 students in 85 schools and is planning to move to the Microsoft Live@edu cloud software as a service offerings for its students.

Not only is it exciting to see the breadth of public sector customers taking advantage of Microsoft cloud services, but also the variety of things they’re using the technology for.  As with large business enterprises, state and local governments are looking to reduce costs while ensuring they have enterprise-grade capabilities that provide the highest levels of security, compliance, productivity functionality, and enterprise support and flexibility.  Microsoft’s cloud offerings provide this while also bridging to the existing IT infrastructure and desktop application experiences that customers have today.

You can find more information on the announcements from the U.S. Public Sector CIO summit at these links including CIO Summit news, the FutureFed blog, and the Bright Side of Government blog.

If you have questions or would like more information on Microsoft and cloud computing in the enterprise, I urge you to check out the Cloud Power site as well to get started. Let me know if you have comments or questions and I’ll work to get back to them as quickly as possible as well.

Thanks - larry