US Army turns to IBM to build, manage private cloud data center

The deal marks the first time the Army has enlisted a private company to run a large-scale data center on its behalf within a military installation.

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US Army

IBM officially announced January 18 that it's signed a deal to build, manage and operate a private cloud data center for the US Army, within the Army's Redstone Arsenal near Huntsville, Alabama. The deal marks the first time the Army has turned to a private company to run a large-scale data center on its behalf within a military installation.

The on-premise private cloud initiative is part of a one-year task order. Under the Army Private Cloud 2 (APC2) contract, awarded to seven companies in 2011, the contract with IBM could be extended by as much as four additional years. Should it last the full five years, the contract will be worth approximately $62 million, IBM said.

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In addition to building the infrastructure at the Army post, IBM will provide infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) services. The Army will also begin moving its applications to the private cloud, moving as many as 35 applications in the first year.

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

Last year, IBM achieved Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Impact Level 5 (IL-5) Authorization, giving it the authority to manage controlled, unclassified information. The Army expects IBM to achieve the highest level of authorization (IL-6) within a year, which would certify IBM to work with information classified as "secret."

The new contract expands IBM's existing relationship with the Army. The military branch last year started using an IBM hybrid cloud for its Logistics Support Activity.

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