One organization that recently decided to take the cloud plunge is the city government of San Francisco. Until recently, the city utilized seven separate email systems for its 23,000 employees, who are spread across more than 60 departments. Now, the city will streamline its email services by leveraging the flexibility of cloud computing.
Jon Walton, chief information officer for the city of San Francisco, said the cloud solution chosen for the deployment is Microsoft Exchange Online, a cloud-based version of the software giant's traditional email client offerings. The platform will offer city employees a range of services in addition to email, including collaboration features and calendaring.
According to Walton, the city will pay approximately $6.50 per month, per user, for the new service, including archive space on Microsoft's cloud servers. In total, the city expects the solution to cost approximately $12 million per year.
This, according to Walton, represents a 20 percent reduction in what the city currently pays to maintain its existing email solutions.
The city government employs a number of CIOs who discussed the possible solutions at length, Walton said. Eventually, they chose Microsoft's offering because they felt it best matched the city's strategic long-term direction.
The city of San Francisco is one of many governmental organizations in the United States embracing cloud computing. According to a recent InformationWeek report, the city of Los Angeles has also decided to move its on-premise email services to the cloud. Unlike the city of San Francisco, however, the Los Angeles authorities opted to deploy the services of Microsoft's competitor, Google.