IBM Creates Federal Cloud Innovation Center - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


IBM Creates Federal Cloud Innovation Center

Center focuses on encouraging government agencies to adopt open standards for cloud computing.

IBM has opened a Federal Cloud Innovation Center in Washington, D.C., with 500 employees on board to help government agencies adopt cloud services and open standards.

The Federal Cloud Innovation Center will connect agencies with experts in cloud computing, including software as a service, platform as a service, infrastructure as a service, and business process as a service. The experts range from IBM researchers to IT infrastructure architects to software developers. Consultants with agency-specific expertise will also be part of the staff.

The center will be headed by Jane Snowdon, IBM's chief innovation officer for U.S. Federal. Snowdon spent 17 years at IBM Research, and was appointed to the newly created position in June. She's tasked with developing strategies for government clients in emerging areas, such as big data, cloud computing and mobile.

[ What should agencies consider before they sign on with a cloud provider? Read Avoiding Cloud Lock-In. ]

Expanding adoption of open standards for cloud computing across the federal government is one of the center's main goals. IBM said it will use its knowledge of cloud standards and other open protocols to help agencies quickly and securely deploy open technologies in their cloud environments.

Last year IBM became a member of the OpenStack Foundation, which promotes the development, distribution and implementation of the OpenStack cloud operating system. OpenStack is a cloud computing project for service providers, enterprises, academia and federal agencies that want to build public or private clouds.

"As agencies look to the cloud for IT cost savings and innovation, the Federal Cloud Innovation Center will help government agencies explore and understand why adopting open standards for cloud computing is the right path to meeting this goal," Anne Altman, general manager of IBM U.S. Federal, said in an email. "We believe that agencies that choose cloud vendors that take a propriety approach to technology risk building dead-end clouds and will not be able to keep pace with new features and the innovation emerging continually from open source cloud solutions."

The center will also work with agencies on security innovations such as new methods for data encryption in the cloud, according to IBM. Additionally, agencies will have access to IBM's portfolio of 3,600 cloud APIs for integration and hardware configurations. These APIs allow faster customization of cloud services to the agencies' specific needs, the company said.

Other resources to be offered by IBM at the Federal Cloud Innovation Center include SmartCloud for Government, a cloud environment that complies with the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) and is part of IBM's federal data centers. The General Services Administration (GSA) recently signed a deal with IBM to implement SmartCloud for Government. Under the five-year, $30 million contract, IBM will provide GSA with a cloud infrastructure for a new order management system and advanced analytics.

IBM is also among 10 companies that have signed indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contracts with the Department of the Interior (DOI), valued up to $1 billion each. DOI plans to migrate its IT operations to the cloud, which, according to experts, could set the agency on a path toward becoming a major government cloud service provider.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
User Rank: Strategist
10/29/2013 | 1:35:35 AM
re: IBM Creates Federal Cloud Innovation Center
IBM would have been better off investing earlier in this initiative than in challenging the CIA's award of a cloud services contract to Amazon Web Services. It mainly called attention to the fact that Amazon's proposal stood up well to critical review. IBM usually follows the rule, concentrate on applying your own strengths, not on striking a blow at a successful competitor.So far, it's gambled on the latter strategy and lost.
User Rank: Author
10/22/2013 | 9:23:55 PM
re: IBM Creates Federal Cloud Innovation Center
The battle for cloud dominance is heating up. The news that IBM is committing 500 employees and some of its top research and innovation staffers to the Washington, D.C. innovation center follows recent news that Amazon Web Services had opened a 500-person office in Herndon Va.
2021 Outlook: Tackling Cloud Transformation Choices
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  1/4/2021
Enterprise IT Leaders Face Two Paths to AI
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  12/23/2020
10 IT Trends to Watch for in 2021
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  12/22/2020
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
The State of Cloud Computing - Fall 2020
The State of Cloud Computing - Fall 2020
Download this report to compare how cloud usage and spending patterns have changed in 2020, and how respondents think they'll evolve over the next two years.
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you.
Flash Poll