Inside Advanced Scale Challenges|Monday, November 20, 2017
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IBM Re-Ups with U.S. Army for $62M Cloud Deal 

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IBM has announced its second major cloud win in three months, signing a $62 million, five-year deal with the United States Army to build and manage a cloud solution for the Army’s Redstone Arsenal near Huntsville, Ala., part of the Army’s long-term private cloud enterprise program.

Two months ago, Big Blue and American Airlines announced that IBM had been selected as the airline’s public cloud services provider to develop a PCI-compliant ecommerce solution on a shared cloud platform, touted as an industry-first.

The Army said its objective is to overcome the waning efficiencies of its existing IT capabilities at the arsenal in Huntsville. The key challenge will be integrate a cloud solution with its existing infrastructure while complying with stringent security regulations. In addition to building the infrastructure, IBM will provide the Army with Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) services, intended to bring efficiencies to IT provisioning on an as-needed basis. The Army also will migrate up to 35 applications to the private cloud in the first year of the deal.

“With this project, we’re beginning to bring the IT infrastructure of the U.S. Army into the 21st century,” said Lt. Gen. Robert Ferrell, U.S. Army CIO. “Cloud computing is a game-changing architecture that provides improved performance with high efficiency, all in a secure environment.”

According to the Army, the project required Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Impact Level 5 (IL-5) Provisional Authorization to manage controlled, unclassified information. IBM is the only company to be authorized by DISA at IL-5 to run Infrastructure-as-a-Service solutions on government premises. IBM announced the accreditation in February which included a condition limiting the initial number of tenants in the cloud; according to today’s announcement, that condition was removed in September.

The Army expects IBM to achieve DISA IL-6 – the agency’s highest level – within one year, which would certify IBM to work with classified information up to “secret” within this on-premises, private cloud initiative. The APCE program starts off as a one-year task order with four additional one-year options. If the Army exercises all options, the contract would be worth approximately $62 million over the five years.

“Clients today are increasingly looking at the cloud as a pathway to innovation,” said Sam Gordy, general manager, IBM U.S. Federal. “This IBM Cloud solution will provide the Army with greater flexibility and will go a long way toward mitigating, and, in some cases eliminating, the security challenges inherent with multiple ingress and egress points.”

Today’s news builds on IBM’s existing relationship with the Army, which last year adopted an IBM hybrid cloud solution for its Logistics Support Activity in which the Army connected its on-premises environment to the IBM Cloud. According to the Army, IBM is the only private sector company with which the Army has contracted to run a large-scale data center inside the gates of a military installation.

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