Cloud

IBM offers the only cloud secure enough for the US Army

IBM recently signed a $62M deal with the US Army to build and operate a private cloud data center in Huntsville, Alabama.

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Image: iStockphoto/Niyazz

IBM signed a five-year deal with the US Army to build out and manage a private cloud data center, the company announced on Wednesday. The deal, worth $62 million, will see the data center placed at the Army's Redstone Arsenal in Alabama.

The project will require Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Impact Level 5 (IL-5) Provisional Authorization, according to a press release. And, so far, IBM is the only company "to be authorized by DISA at IL-5 to run Infrastructure-as-a-Service solutions on government premises," the release said.

IBM originally received the authorization on a conditional basis back in February 2016, so it could begin offering cloud services at the Allegany Ballistics Laboratory data center in West Virginia. The condition was removed later that year in September.

SEE: How IBM's cloud and cognitive computing tools help deliver personalized customer experiences

The current authorization at IL-5 allows IBM the "authority to manage controlled, unclassified information," the release said. However, the press release said that the Army expects that, within a year, IBM will reach DISA IL-6 authorization—the highest offered by the organization—giving IBM the ability to work with information classified at the "secret" level.

The announcement is part of the Army Private Cloud Enterprise (APCE) program and the Army Private Cloud 2 (APC2) contract. On top of building out the data center, IBM will also provide cloud IaaS services to the Army, and the Army will start migrating apps to the private cloud, with the goal of moving 35 apps in the first year, the release said.

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

This isn't the first cloud project that IBM has worked on with the Army, as the two partnered on a hybrid cloud solution for the Army's Logistics Support Activity in the past. However, "IBM is the first and only private sector company with whom the Army has contracted to run a large-scale data center on its behalf and inside the gates of a military installation," the release said.

With the growth of cloud in compliant industries, it makes sense that IBM is trying to position itself as a secure provider for the public sector. IBM also offers FedRAMP and FISMA-compliant infrastructure solutions as well.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. IBM and the US Army recently signed a five-year deal, worth $62 million, that will have IBM build and manage a private cloud data center for the Army in Alabama.
  2. IBM will also provide IaaS solutions to the US Army, as the Army starts to migrate 35 apps to the private cloud this year.
  3. IBM is the only company with DISA at IL-5 authorization for government premises, and the Army expects it will get to IL-6 authorization within a year.

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About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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