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7/24/2014
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IBM & California Partner On Private Cloud

CalCloud, the State of California's private cloud managed by IBM, aims to streamline services for 400 state and local government agencies.

Government agencies aren't the first group that come to mind as cloud computing trailblazers, but the State of California is investing in its own private cloud to help unclog the government service bottlenecks that occur all too frequently in America's most populated state.

"CalCloud" is a collaboration between the California Department of Technology and IBM to offer cloud services to state and local government agencies using a subscription model based on usage.

IBM manages CalCloud's pool of IT resources -- compute, networking, storage, and disaster recovery -- using its orchestration software called IBM Service Delivery Manager (ISDM). The company is also training state employees on how to use CalCloud. The CalCloud infrastructure is located at data centers in Rancho Cordova and Vacaville, Calif., so the data stays in the state's control. The state Department of Technology is supplying the floor space, power/cooling, network connectivity, and management at the data center sites. IBM is providing, and retains ownership of, the IT infrastructure.

[Apple and IBM's alliance has huge potential, starting with slick business apps. Read Apple, IBM Deal: When Siri Meets Watson.]

Using an IBM portal, a state or local agency can customize the computing it gets from CalCloud. An agency starts with a base server bundle and can select different options to fit its needs.

The CalCloud concept is the first of its kind to be implemented in the US at the state level, according to IBM. The main benefits of CalCloud for government IT workers is they can scale up or down to match workload requirements. Today, hundreds of state and local agencies rely on siloed, legacy IT systems. The CalCloud service model lets government entities share a pool of computing resources with quick access to modern back-end services that will help them operate more efficiently than they do today within their own systems.

CalCloud

CalCloud is currently an IaaS offering. In its roadmap, IBM said it plans to have support for PaaS and SaaS offerings within CalCloud.  

The benefit for California residents, if enough of the state's agencies use CalCloud, is they will have a single sign-on system for state and local government services. Single sign-on will authenticate users to access services that usually require individual registrations.

"With single sign-on, citizens get a consistent view of who they are across different state services and what services they're eligible for," says Dan Pelino, GM for IBM's global public sector. "If you're applying for a license or permit or changing your address on one service, it's applied to all of them because they'll all be on one platform."

California has 400 state departments and local government entities that are served by the state's Department of Technology. Because these agencies mostly manage their own infrastructures today, "there's a lot of redundancy, a lot of vendors to manage, a lot of backup and recovery," says Pelino. "It creates too many islands of information, and it's expensive to manage." 

The State of California and IBM have organized seminars and events promoting CalCloud to state and local agencies. The state will let the agencies decide whether to use CalCloud. So far, 20 agencies – including the Employment Development Department, one of the largest state departments -- have begun to migrate from their legacy infrastructures to the CalCloud service.

CalCloud meets security standards based on National Institute of Standards (NIST) for cloud-based services and FedRAMP, a program that provides standards for security assessment, authorization, and monitoring for cloud services for the federal government.

In addition to IBM, CalCloud partners include AT&T, which will provide network services for the core and edge networks. IT consulting firms Alexan International and KPMG are also helping with migration to CalCloud.

New standards, new security, new architectures. The Cloud First stars are finally aligning for government IT. Read the Cloud Hits Inflection Point issue of InformationWeek Government Tech Digest today.

Shane O'Neill is Managing Editor for InformationWeek. Prior to joining InformationWeek, he served in various roles at CIO.com, most notably as assistant managing editor and senior writer covering Microsoft. He has also been an editor and writer at eWeek and TechTarget. ... View Full Bio

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Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
7/24/2014 | 1:11:04 PM
Bidding?
That's a big win for IBM. Do you know if Amazon, Rackspace or any other cloud provider also bid?
Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
7/24/2014 | 1:54:58 PM
Re: Bidding?
IBM only told me that it was a "competitive win." But wouldn't name names.
David F. Carr
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David F. Carr,
User Rank: Author
7/24/2014 | 1:16:42 PM
Is CalCloud intended primarily for public-facing apps?
The reference to single sign on for California citizens makes me think that this is intended for as a web hosting infrastructure to be shared between state and local government for services to the public. Is that the case?

If this is also for internal use, I'd imagine there would be single sign-on benefits within the government agencies as well, unless they've already achieved that by other means.
Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
7/24/2014 | 2:37:49 PM
Re: Is CalCloud intended primarily for public-facing apps?
Yes, web hosting is part of the CalCloud infrastructure and it enables single sign-on.
Hospice_Houngbo
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Hospice_Houngbo,
User Rank: Strategist
7/29/2014 | 10:06:51 PM
Re: Is CalCloud intended primarily for public-facing apps?
"The CalCloud concept is the first of its kind to be implemented in the US at the state level, according to IBM"

That sounds interesting! Could that be expanded to other states as well? One important benefit is that "the data stays in the state's control." I think state legislators will like that idea.
MDMConsult14
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MDMConsult14,
User Rank: Moderator
7/25/2014 | 5:04:00 AM
Re: Is CalCloud intended primarily for public-facing apps?
SSO lets the user have more control. Single-sign on solutions can also give mroe control for the user for communications. I like the aspect that SSO can be flexible enough to add and delete users and tap into group features for conversations.
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
7/26/2014 | 6:42:59 AM
Re: Is CalCloud intended primarily for public-facing apps?
MDMConsult,

SSO definitely makes things much simpler for Consumers today.

Trying to go for Two and even Multi-factor Authentication makes things way too complex which ends up complicating things and making user experience unneccesarily unpleasant.

This needs to stop today else consumers will just swear off the whole process entirely.

Regards

Ashish.
MDMConsult14
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MDMConsult14,
User Rank: Moderator
8/20/2014 | 12:19:01 PM
Re: Is CalCloud intended primarily for public-facing apps?
@Ashu001 Thanks. The right authentication measures should meet the requirements of full security which can also be extended to other tools. A good solution which can encrypt data and support user identity is also good.
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
8/30/2014 | 5:58:08 PM
Re: Is CalCloud intended primarily for public-facing apps?
MDMConsult,

Not just Encryption around Data at Rest and Data in Motion but also looking at how Apps are structured and where they are stored is very important.

We need to also inculcate a better level of Security culture all through our Organizations to get folks more in tune with what's acceptable User Behavior and what is'nt.

The same goes for App developers too.

Regards

Ashish.
tekedge
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tekedge,
User Rank: Moderator
7/24/2014 | 3:14:39 PM
Sandbox environment
Will this allow individual developers/ small business to get sanbox environments on the cloud?
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
7/24/2014 | 4:07:34 PM
Re: Sandbox environment
tekedge,

Good Question!

I was wondering that very same issue.

Sandboxing is a very effective tool to not just protect but also ensure most Users (I mean developers here) get to experiment effectively without disturbing too many things in the rest of the Development Enviroment.

 
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
7/24/2014 | 8:54:37 PM
Re: Sandbox environment
same question here :) I would like to know more... as this technology develops and grow...
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
7/26/2014 | 6:39:28 AM
Re: Sandbox environment
Bateye,

I am really surprised to hear this from you!

You are easily one of the smartest commenters/commentators on Informationweek today;I thought you would actually help me answer my Question.

I guess,not everybody can know everything about Technology right?

LOL!

Please keep contributing regularly to Informationweek;I always learn a lot from your work.

Regards

Ashish.
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
7/26/2014 | 8:42:37 AM
Re: Sandbox environment
technology changing overnight... no one knows everything :) others opinion knowledge is important...

we learn as we share knowledge :)
Charlie Babcock
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Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Author
7/24/2014 | 8:53:36 PM
Single sign-on? When does it arrive?
As a California resident, it's great news that single sign-on is available through CalCloud but I wonder which state agencies are using it. Single sign-on is pie in the sky until, lets say, the Department of Motor Vehicles, State Parks, University of California, boat registration and fishing, game and wildlife permit processes or some other mix of state agencies all use it. What's going to be available--this yaer?
StaceyX246
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StaceyX246,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/25/2014 | 1:18:14 AM
dr eziza spell

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MDMConsult14
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MDMConsult14,
User Rank: Moderator
7/25/2014 | 4:59:31 AM
Re: dr eziza spell
There are still issues with customer retention. The challenges could be resolved by improvements earlier in the process ike with adoption, testing customer metrics and looking at costs which are lower to maintain such issues. The right cloud solutions are reliable and save costs. These solutions should be suited for the optimized environment.
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
7/25/2014 | 6:19:48 AM
State governments for Cloud Technology
Shane, now a day's government departments are also making use of cloud technology and state of California is the latest one adding the list. What type of cloud is setting by IBM; Hybrid or private or public cloud?
Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
7/30/2014 | 9:08:29 AM
Re: State governments for Cloud Technology
It's a private cloud -- IaaS.
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
8/4/2014 | 2:18:57 AM
Re: State governments for Cloud Technology
"It's a private cloud -- IaaS."

Shane, thanks for the clarification. You mean private in the sense exclusive for state and government agencies.
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
7/25/2014 | 11:48:02 AM
Menu
"Using an IBM portal, a state or local agency can customize the computing it gets from CalCloud. An agency starts with a base server bundle and can select different options to fit its needs." This is very much the approach the US IT leaders have been advocating at the national level for at least 3 years. Seems California has gotten it done faster than the Fed agencies.
Stratustician
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Stratustician,
User Rank: Ninja
7/26/2014 | 11:41:48 AM
California Cloud Brokerage
With this model, CalCloud is basically its own cloud brokerage as they would be able to provision and secure services between government agencies, while sharing costs.  It's a great move towards standardizing and securing government resources, and is definitely a great model that other states could use for their own agencies.
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
7/26/2014 | 12:06:11 PM
Re: California Cloud Brokerage
stratuscan,

The model is interesting for sure.

Just was wondering if this means I am locked into the IBM way of doing things?

IBM has this funny way of doing things here-They constantly buy new product companies in their desperation to stay relevant but then fail to integrate everything properly together confusing things for not just their employees but customers as well.

Will this product also meet the same fate?

Regards

Ashish.
Hospice_Houngbo
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Hospice_Houngbo,
User Rank: Strategist
7/29/2014 | 10:25:38 PM
Re: California Cloud Brokerage
@Ashish

"IBM (NYSE: IBM) is supplying and managing the infrastructure, the state and the California Department of Technology will manage the service offering." 

It is the resposibility of the state and the California Department of Technology to make sure that the model meets all expectations. 
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
7/30/2014 | 11:47:21 AM
Re: California Cloud Brokerage
Houngbo,

Whenever you have the State involved in any such Transaction(and with so much Responsibility);one needs to be so wary because of the State's Past record of Messing up such Deals.

Till the whole things is completed entirely then we really can't be sure about what they are really getting today.

Regards

Ashish.
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
8/4/2014 | 2:21:19 AM
Re: California Cloud Brokerage
"It is the resposibility of the state and the California Department of Technology to make sure that the model meets all expectations"

HH, I think it's in other way. Customer can suggest only their requirements; implementation team (IBM) has to take care about it. I mean whether it's meeting the customer expectations.
Multicloud Infrastructure & Application Management
Multicloud Infrastructure & Application Management
Enterprise cloud adoption has evolved to the point where hybrid public/private cloud designs and use of multiple providers is common. Who among us has mastered provisioning resources in different clouds; allocating the right resources to each application; assigning applications to the "best" cloud provider based on performance or reliability requirements.
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