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IBM Given 10 Months to Entice US Air Force with Cloud Model

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IBM Given 10 Months to Entice US Air Force with Cloud Model

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President Barack Obama's $3.8 trillion 2011 budget proposal includes $79.4 billion in federal IT spending. It is becoming clear to governments around the world that data center reduction with the help of cloud computing is a compelling option for cutting IT costs.  In the US, the number of government data centers has tripled over the last 12 years and state officials want to reverse this trend.  The US Air Force and Navy have already started working with cloud vendors to test various computing models for their systems.  Today, IBM announced that it had been selected to design and demonstrate a cloud architecture for the Air Force.

IBM has been given 10 months to complete the demonstrations and convince the Air Force to use their solution.  The architecture is intended to enhance all of the Air Force's operational, analytical and security capabilities.  IBM plans to introduce an added layer of analytics to detect unauthorized access or potential threats in the cloud architecture.  The Air force laid out two primary requirements for IBM's solution:

First, the Air Force is looking for the solution to deliver autonomic computing capabilities.  IBM's cloud will need to continuously tune resources for the highest possible level of optimization, and it must do this automatically.  This is a goal for the majority of cloud projects, but IBM's implementation will have to provide world-class performance with a low tolerance for disruption.  It will also have to provide efficient usage of the resources to minimize the required hardware.

For its second requirement, IBM will have to enable "stream computing."  The stream computing aspect will have to constantly interpret massive amounts of streaming data in real time and produce actionable analytics and intelligence.  This capability will allow the Air Force to detect cyber threats, network failures, application failures, and more.  The stream computing must also prevent those problems from disrupting operations or threatening national security.

If IBM successfully meets the Air Force's requirements with a protective cloud architecture, it may lead to other government contracts.  Public sector contracts make up more than 15% of the company's sales.  If IBM's cloud architecture for the Air Force can meet the needs of a high-security military infrastructure, it can probably handle almost any other use case.

The International Data Corporation predicts that worldwide spending on cloud computing will more than double in the next three years. 

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