This week IBM (NYSE: IBM) launched a new Federal Community Cloud specifically designed to help federal government organizations respond to technology requirements more quickly. The secure, private cloud environment is part of IBM’s established and dedicated Federal Data Centers (FDC) that provide secure and comprehensive certified computing capabilities to federal government clients.
IBM’s Federal Community Cloud (FCC) will enable data and services to reside in secure, scalable data centers that can be quickly accessed by federal organizations at a fraction of the cost. The capabilities are dynamic and scalable to help organizations meet government consolidation policies mandated by Obama administration Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra in February.
The IBM Federal Community Cloud provides:
• Secure, private multi-tenant cloud designed to meet the demanding requirements of the federal government
• Flexibility to control technology environments and operation costs to match fluctuations in demand
• Reduction in costs by eliminating the need to own infrastructures or software licenses
• Faster implementation time of development and test environments, application and Web hosting and backup
• Access to distributed information and advanced analytics solutions via cloud-based applications
• Access to consulting services and Infrastructure as a Service, with plans to soon include Platform as a Service and Software as a Service offerings
IBM’s Federal Community Cloud is in the process of obtaining Fed Ramp certification to meet FISMA (Federal Information Security Management Act) compliance standards, a requirement for government IT contractors, and will be operated and maintained in accordance with Federal Security Guidelines.
The complex nature of work federal organizations will continue to increase in the years ahead, as well as the mandates required to pursue these efforts. For example, using technology to process benefits claims electronically; identifying waste, fraud and abuse in social services programs; conducting health care research; running military simulations; conducting global warming models; or predicting and managing traffic patterns in real-time. This is coupled with current agency needs such as maintaining security, quickly deploying new applications and services for collaboration, meeting environmental mandates, reducing costs, and adhering to the landslide of compliance requirements. As a result, data center capacity will continue to be in short supply, and running independent IT infrastructures becomes a riskier proposition for the federal government, as well as a costlier use of taxpayer dollars.
“The physical and virtual infrastructures of our federal clients can be monitored and managed more seamlessly using cloud models that ensure better security, standardization and automation driving lower costs,” said David F. McQueeney, IBM Chief Technology Officer, US Federal. “Cloud computing environments will dramatically accelerate and enhance government agency missions, opening the door to better decision making based on real-time data and laying a strong foundation for greater focus on innovation.”
IBM is currently working with 15 federal government organizations – including the Department of Housing & Urban Development, Department of Defense (Army, Navy, and Air Force), Department of Homeland Security, Department of Education, Department of Agriculture, and Department of Health & Human Services – to provide cloud and data center capabilities to quickly build, manage, operate and analyze complex computing environments. These clients and other government organizations in the federal community now have access to the IBM Federal Community Cloud through the GSA IT procurement schedule 70, or GWAC or IDIQ procurement vehicles for cloud services can be established.
In addition to the Federal Community Cloud, IBM also announced today cloud capabilities for state and local governments. The Municipal Shared Services Cloud uses a unique combination of advanced data analytics and Software as a Service to integrate software from multiple software vendors and Web-based applications onto one easy-to-use platform that municipal governments nationwide can tap into and share. IBM is working with the New York Conference of Mayors and the Michigan Municipal League to coordinate the participation of their members in pilot testing the new service.
More information on IBM’s solutions for federal government is available at http://www.ibm.com/federal.