IBM, California Launch CalCloud Government Cloud Service

IBM and the California Department of Technology announced a new state government service platform known as CalCloud.

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The California Department of Technology and IBM have announced CalCloud, a new technology model powered by cloud computing to build and deliver new, improved government services and savings.

IBM said the CalCloud platform, now available to municipalities and all state and local government agencies on a subscription basis, is the first of its kind to be implemented in the United States at the state level.

Through CalCloud, the California Department of Technology is providing access to IT services while minimizing upfront capital investment and controlling financial risk. Instead of separate IT systems for each department, the CalCloud service model enables government entities to share a common pool of computing resources and operate more efficiently. Immediate access to modern back-end services frees up state departments to focus on projects with direct impact on the public.

More than 20 state departments have already requested IT services through CalCloud, IBM said. In addition to IBM, CalCloud partners include AT&T, which will provide network services for the core and edge networks, and IT consulting firms Alexan International and KPMG to drive CalCloud's adoption rate and migration to the new service.

"CalCloud is an important step towards providing faster and more cost effective IT services to California state departments and ultimately to the citizens of California," said Marybel Batjer, secretary of California's Government Operations Agency, in a statement.

As part of this public-private partnership, IBM is supplying and managing the infrastructure, while the California Department of Technology will manage all other aspects of the service offering. IBM will work closely with the state to transfer essential knowledge and best practices in security and systems integration to the Department of Technology.

"CalCloud will give customers highly available virtual servers with an operating system within hours by the click of a button, from a self-service web portal," according to a California Department of Technology newsletter from last year. "Additionally, customers will be able to add more resources, e.g., memory and storage, to the servers with the same easy process via the web portal."

California's move to offer shared IT services through CalCloud gives state and local governments the ability to buy only the computing resources needed with the flexibility to quickly scale up or scale down resources as workloads demand. CalCloud is designed to allow around-the-clock access to a shared pool of resources, including compute, storage, network and disaster recovery services. CalCloud meets stringent security standards based on the National Institute of Standards (NIST) for cloud-based services and FedRAMP, IBM said.

"Transforming how the State of California delivers technology services is not only more efficient and cost effective, it will spur innovation with cloud capabilities that are open and secure," said Erich Clementi, senior vice president of IBM Global Technology Services, in a statement. "California is setting an example for other states on how to use cloud technology to improve coordination across agencies and municipalities while reducing the barriers and duplication that can impede the delivery of government services."

The aforementioned California Department of Technology newsletter, written while CalCloud was still in the procurement stage, also said the agency was "acquiring an 'on-premise, private cloud' service that will be maintained by a cloud service provider but physically located in OTech [Office of Technology Services] data centers under OTech's control and oversight. The CalCloud will also be subject to OTech's high security standards. Once fully implemented, 'CalCloud' will be operated as a multitenant, government 'community cloud' for State and local agencies.

"Providing cloud services will allow OTech to accelerate our evolution as a data center and service provider. We want to be the service provider for iPad and Facebook generation consumers, who have grown up on services and applications that can be used immediately. The cloud is also an opportunity to improve, enhance and expand our technical and business skills and to provide our customers with the very best and lowest cost service possible."