IBM will provide the DOI with cloud computing technologies and services, including data storage, secure file transfer, Web hosting, virtual machines, development testing and SAP application hosting. The agency also will have access to IBM's Smart Cloud for Government, which is hosted at IBM's federal data center, as well as IBM AIX Cloud and SmartCloud Enterprise, IBM's public cloud infrastructure-as-a-service.
Other federal agencies can gain access to IBM's cloud offerings via DOI Foundation Cloud Hosting Services, which "allow request for quotes/task orders to be issued on behalf of other government customers, including both civilian agencies and the Department of Defense," said IBM, which estimates managing millions of cloud-based transactions each day.
[ Uncle Sam leads in cloud adoption. Read Follow Feds To The Cloud. ]
The DOI has started transitioning its IT systems to a cloud computing model as part of a transformation that could take a decade. The agency expects to save $100 million a year between 2016 and 2021 in IT costs by moving to the model. The savings will fund future investments and applications.
"Now more than ever, the United States government needs the safety and security of IBM's decades of experience in managing sensitive data. Our long history of working with the federal government, our $6 billion commitment to research and world class software and services gives IBM a unique advantage," said Anne Altman, IBM general manager of U.S. federal and government industries.
The Interior Department joins a number of other federal agencies moving to cloud services. InformationWeek Government's 2013 Federal Government Cloud Computing Survey found that more than half of agencies have identified use cases for cloud services, and 46% have evaluated cloud products and services. As government organizations increase their use of cloud computing, applications will also grow in sophistication, beyond email-as-a-service.
Commercial cloud services are the most widely used in federal government, cited by 18% of survey respondents using or assessing cloud services. Private clouds operating inside government data centers are used by 14%. Infrastructure-as-a-service was cited as the most frequently used type of cloud service among agencies (49%), followed by storage-as-a-service (32%), software-as-a-service (25%) and platforms-as-a-service (19%). Lowering the cost of ongoing IT operations was the most-cited business driver, according to 54% of the survey's respondents.