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12/22/2010
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NATO Taps IBM To Build Private Cloud

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization will test using the cloud to consolidate and modernize its IT resources.

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The military command center for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has tapped IBM to build a private cloud it hopes will pave the way for a new computing model for its 28 member nations.

IBM will create an on-premises cloud allowing NATO's Allied Command Transformation to leverage the technology to more cost effectively and easily introduce new technology as well as consolidate current IT resources, the company said.

The project -- the contract terms of which were not disclosed -- will be a proving ground of sorts for NATO, and is in response to concerns raised at a recent NATO summit that the organization must modernize its IT infrastructure, said Ernest J. Herold, associate partner and NATO account manager for IBM global business services.

The organization wants to test how cloud computing might help it develop new solutions for command, control, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance projects, as well as to improve operational functions such as situational awareness and decision-making.

The project also is aimed at inspiring individual member nations to use the technology to modernize and consolidate their own IT infrastructure.

Other benefits NATO hopes to achieve by leveraging the cloud include cost savings and reduced energy costs, Herold said.

Additionally, the organization hopes to create "a more 'friendly' atmosphere... to quickly and cost effectively introduce and use the latest technologies -- be it cyber solutions, logistics capabilities, data analytics, communication tools, etc. -- throughout their organization," he said.

IBM will develop the private cloud at the headquarters of the Supreme Allied Command Transformation in Norfolk, Va., where the infrastructure for it will reside.

That infrastructure will share a common operating environment across a host of mission processes to allow NATO members to aggregate and share a range of disparate computing resources, such as networks, servers, and storage, according to IBM.

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