IBM has announced the availability of new IBM Cloud Services data centers, designed for the enterprise, providing SoftLayer cloud infrastructure-as-a-service built to meet US Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) and Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) requirements.

Through the new data centers and development programs, IBM is also opening the market for the SoftLayer ecosystem, enabling business partners to deliver over 100 applications and services such as security, desktop virtualization and geospatial services directly to government clients.

IBM is providing government agencies the ideal platform for creating hybrid and private cloud environments that integrate on-premise and cloud-based workloads through the new data centers. Hybrid clouds provide agencies more security, control, and opportunity to continue leveraging existing private cloud investments. According to IDC, hybrid and private clouds are expected to make up 80% of federal cloud deployments.

The first of the new data centers will open in Dallas, Texas, this month, with a companion center opening in Ashburn, Virginia, later this year. The highly secure SoftLayer data centers will have initial capacity for 30,000 servers and share an isolated, robust private network with 2,000 gigabytes per second of connectivity.

IBM Cloud Services and its SoftLayer infrastructure-as-a-service are designed for the enterprise, supporting:

  • Data: enabling clients to mine their data as their most valuable resource while protecting its privacy and security
  • Open Integration: rapidly combining existing and new services and data to drive new innovations for organizations
  • Control: helping clients decide, manage and secure where their data and apps reside

Data is an abundant resource across government and agencies are challenged with using it to gain insights and transform with speed. Acting in the business moment requires the ability to harness all available data and apply the full power of analytics on a massive scale, privately and securely.

IBM is also building a dedicated Security Operations Center for the new data centers to provide government clients with added security, availability and incident response capabilities. Through its customizable solutions, agencies can achieve optimized application performance and responsiveness via SoftLayer, and faster application development, deployment and delivery.

"Government clients will find SoftLayer services delivered via these new centers give them the ideal platform for the mission critical workloads they are moving to the cloud, or new web-centric workloads," said Anne Altman, general manager, US Federal, IBM. "We've designed these centers with government clients' needs in mind, investing in added security features and redundancies to provide a high level of availability. With business partners enabled to deliver cloud solutions via the new SoftLayer centers for the Federal government, we are fostering an ecosystem of innovation."

The new data centers come as part of IBM's $1.2 billion commitment to expand its global cloud operations for IBM Cloud Services in all major geographies and financial centers. By the end of 2014, IBM will operate 40 data centers across five continents, and will double SoftLayer cloud capacity. Fifteen new data centers will be added to the existing fleet of 25, in locations including China, Hong Kong, London, Japan, India, Canada, Mexico City and Dallas.

The SoftLayer platform provides single-tenant and multi-tenant cloud servers and storage. SoftLayer bare metal servers—dedicated, single-tenant servers—provide added control and enhanced performance predictability, ideal for government workloads focused on high performance computing and advanced analytics such as those used by federal research, healthcare and academic organizations.

SoftLayer also features a high-speed private network between data centers, and a single, exhaustive API that covers all facets of the platform. With these features, government clients get full security, access, control and visibility for their cloud infrastructure, allowing agencies to build cloud environments to their specific compliance and security needs.

As part of this announcement, IBM launched the Bluemix™ Platform-as-a-Service Acceleration Program for US Federal, which is designed to enable a cloud-based ecosystem of developers, Independent Software Vendors and Federal Systems Integrators. The program will launch new education and tools for in-house developers in federal agencies and business partners. Built on SoftLayer's cloud infrastructure, Bluemix will help federal developers rapidly build, test, scale and manage apps for mobile, social, analytics and more. The Bluemix platform, which is based on Cloud Foundry and open standards, will also allow federal developers the open integration and connections necessary to deploy apps across different systems and legacy infrastructures. In addition to the new tools available, the program will also feature education events, contests, workshops and certification opportunities for federal developers.

One year ago, IBM made a strategic acquisition of SoftLayer for $2 billion. Since July 2013, SoftLayer has flourished as the foundation of IBM's cloud computing business by winning clients, attracting new partners, expanding IBM's cloud footprint and driving new innovations. In the past year with SoftLayer, IBM has generated 50%+ rate of growth in cloud computing and record earnings of $4.4 billion in cloud revenue in 2013.


This article was originally posted “IBM Launches New Cloud Data Centers For Government Workloads” from Cloud Strategy Magazine.