The new IBM Federal Cloud Innovation Center in Washington, D.C., will bring IBM's Cloud computing research efforts closer to federal agencies to develop specialized technologies and methods for building mission-ready Clouds. The IBM centre will draw on the Cloud computing expertise of more than 500 IBM professionals aligned to the centre and IBM's global network of more than 37,000 Cloud industry experts. These experts include IBM researchers, IT infrastructure architects, software developers and consultants with deep industry knowledge in managing major transformation projects across the federal government as well as implementing Cloud solutions.
A central focus of the centre will be to work with the government to explore further the adoption of open standards for Cloud computing across the federal government. Open standards in cloud computing provide integration, break down barriers between Clouds within government, and drive workload portability. IBM is a significant contributor to OpenStack, Cloud standards and other open protocols that can help ensure today's Clouds will have accessibility. IBM brings unique implementation capabilities on top of the open source code for agencies looking to quickly and securely deploy open technologies in their Cloud computing environments.
The centre's staff will also collaborate with federal agencies and other clients on new security innovations that would protect the nation's mission critical data housed in the Cloud. IBM researchers continue to develop new methods for data encryption in the Cloud, ensuring data always remains secure while it's being transported, searched and processed. Also, the centre is able to help agencies exploit the more than 3,600 Cloud APIs IBM has in its portfolio for integration and hardware configurations. These APIs enable faster customization of Cloud solutions to the specific needs of federal government clients.
"IBM's research collaborations with the government have led to major advancements in networking, high-performance computing and most recently in the emerging field of cognitive systems", stated Dr. John E. Kelly III, IBM senior vice president and director of IBM Research. "We see a tremendous opportunity to further the development of Cloud technologies with the federal government by providing access to the latest breakthroughs in security and reliability coming out of IBM's research labs."
The new Cloud innovation centre will host and deliver its client events and demonstrations in IBM's Institute for Electronic Government. The innovation centre will pull together IBM's technical capabilities and expertise throughout the company with the ability to prototype and collaborate with federal agencies, academia and other institutions in the Washington metropolitan area and nationally on Cloud computing. The IBM Federal Cloud Innovation Center will provide access to skilled experts in Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service, Infrastructure as a Service, and Business Process as a Service. Consultants with agency-specific expertise will also be on staff to help each federal agency quickly and effectively take advantage of the Cloud.
"Our work at the centre will help evolve Cloud in these early days of its roll out across the federal government into a platform agencies can trust and grow of", stated Anne Altman, general manager, IBM US Federal. "Now is not the time for government to settle for what is only available commercially. Now is the time for them to join with industry to build security, reliability and standards that will make for a trusted government cloud environment."
The centre will be led by IBM's Chief Innovation Officer for US Federal, Dr. Jane Snowdon, a former IBM Research executive who recently joined IBM's Federal team. Experts from the IBM Federal Industry Solution Center in Gaithersburg, Maryland will participate in the delivery of the centre's mission. Also part of the centre will be resources from IBM's SmartCloud for Government, designed to help government organisations respond to technology requirements more quickly, and SoftLayer, an IBM Company. IBM's SmartCloud for Government FISMA-compliant Cloud environments are part of IBM's established and dedicated Federal Data Centers (FDC) in Colorado, North Carolina and West Virginia, which provide secure and comprehensive certified multi-tenant Cloud computing capabilities to federal government clients. FISMA-compliant SoftLayer data centres in Ashburn, Virginia, and Dallas, Texas, provide high-performing Cloud computing on demand, delivered as bare metal as well as virtual servers.
In addition to the SmartCloud for Government, IBM's Global Business Services have expanded its expertise in Cloud consulting services to help clients more quickly and easily deploy Cloud environments including solutions for mobile, desktop and security applications for federal and other government customers. For example in mobile, IBM offers Worklight and Apperian as a pre-integrated SaaS solution, capable of supporting the full mobile application life cycle in a process that satisfies government IT security requirements. Alternatively and complementarily to mobile, the IBM Hosted Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) or Desktop as a Service (DaaS) offering provides a secure Cloud solution, enabling agencies to economically satisfy their desktop needs. Also, with security a top concern for government customers' Cloud applications, IBM's Security Operations Center (SOC) solution can act as the customer's central resource for system security monitoring and notification as well as threat prevention.
Among the Cloud projects IBM already has under way with the government is a just announced engagement with the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). The agency will securely manage more than five million orders a year on IBM's Smart Cloud for Government. The GSA will use cloud infrastructure, software and services to lead the agency's transformation to a faster, more efficient business model that provides cost savings for the government with next generation customer service capabilities.
The IBM Federal Cloud Innovation Center is part of IBM's cross-company Cloud computing efforts, and staff members from IBM Research, IBM Software, IBM Systems and Technology, IBM Global Business Services, and IBM Technology Services are participating in the centre. IBM is a global expert in Cloud with an unmatched portfolio of open Cloud solutions that help clients build, rent or tap into Cloud capabilities securely.
No other company has the ability to bring together unique industry knowledge and unmatched Cloud capabilities, having already helped more than 20,000 clients around the world. Today, IBM has more than 100 Cloud SaaS solutions, 37,000 experts with deep industry knowledge helping clients transform, and a network of more than 25 global Cloud delivery centres. Since 2007, IBM has invested more than $6 billion in acquisitions to accelerate its Cloud initiatives. Most recently IBM acquired SoftLayer with more than 21,000 clients in 140 countries to further build out its IaaS portfolio with an easy and secure on-ramp to cloud and integration with IBM SmartCloud.