Everyone’s a winner here, it seems. While the government and associated agencies will have access to all of IBM’s cloud research and developments, IBM, for its part, will be given wider access to government departments, giving it a working lab to experiment with its open standards cloud computing program.
IBM Federal Cloud Computing
Based in Washington, DC, the IBM Federal Cloud Innovation Center will bring IBM’s cloud research and development to the nation's capital to ensure that when lawmakers start talking about the cloud, they are talking IBM cloud.
The idea, according to Big Blue, is to provide federal agencies with specialized clouds on-demand and built to specific agency requirements. There will be 500 dedicated cloud professionals attached to the center and they in turn will be connected directly to IBM’s 37,000 other cloud developers, centers, and researchers around the world.
One of the interesting aspects of the deal is the fact that IBM will gain wider access to government departments — essentially a working lab to experiment with its open standards cloud computing program. If IBM is not saying that directly, that is, that it plans to use government agencies as cloud guinea pigs, it is at least what it seems.
In a statement announcing the new center, IBM stated that the “central focus of the center will be to work with the government to explore further the adoption of open standards for cloud computing across the federal government.”
Maybe not quite a guinea pig, but definitely experimental in that it will explore ways of securely breaking down barriers across the federal cloud space as well as providing open technologies to their cloud environments.
It will also be able to bring to bear, the 36,000 APIs that IBM currently has at its disposable, which will enable faster and easier customizations and integrations across all kinds of products.
Get into My Cloud
Needless to say, anything that is developed here will be returned right back into IBM's cloud business for the private sector. That was one of the really bright spots in the recent IBM figures, showing revenues of more than $1 billion for the firs time ever. Anne Altman, general manager, IBM US Federal, said,
Our work at the center will help evolve cloud in these early days of its rollout across the federal government into a platform agencies can trust and grow off of ... 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."
IBM has a lot to offer here and will not be starting from scratch. It already provides SmartCloud for Government and was one of the offspring of the SoftLayer acquisition. It also has the IBM Federal Industry Solution Center in Maryland that will also be feeding into the new facility and secure FISMA-certified cloud data centers around the US.
In fact, it has already started working with the US General Services Administration (GSA), the government’s procurement agency, to provide cloud services that can manage five million orders from the GSA every year.
This is just the latest move by IBM to achieve its goal of $7 billion in annual revenues from cloud computing by 2015. While it still has a long way to go to achieve this target, the opening of centers like this certainly shows it is on its way.