Air Force and IBM partner to prove Cloud Computing works for Defense and Intelligence services

One of the top concerns about Cloud Computing is security of the data in the cloud.  IBM has a press announcement on the partnership here.

U.S. Air Force Selects IBM to Design and Demonstrate Mission-Oriented Cloud Architecture for Cyber Security

Cloud model will introduce advanced cyber security and analytics technologies capable of protecting sensitive national data

ARMONK, N.Y. - 04 Feb 2010: The U.S. Air Force has awarded IBM (NYSE:IBM) a contract to design and demonstrate a secure cloud computing infrastructure capable of supporting defense and intelligence networks. The ten-month project will introduce advanced cyber security and analytics technologies developed by IBM Research into the cloud architecture.

There are press articles too.

CNet News

Air Force taps IBM for secure cloud

by Lance Whitney

IBM has a tall order from the U.S. Air Force--create a cloud network that can protect national defense and military data.

Big Blue announced Thursday a contract from the Air Force to design and demonstrate a cloud computing environment for the USAF's network of nine command centers, 100 military bases, and 700,000 personnel around the world.

The challenge for IBM will be to develop a cloud that can not only support such a massive network, but also meet the strict security standards of the Air Force and the U.S. government. The project will call on the company to use advanced cybersecurity technologies that have been developed at IBM Research.

and Government Computer News.

What I find interesting is how few authors reference the IBM press release.  The goal of the project is a technical demonstration.

"Our goal is to demonstrate how cloud computing can be a tool to enable our Air Force to manage, monitor and secure the information flowing through our network," said Lieutenant General William Lord, Chief Information Officer and Chief, Warfighting Integration, for the U.S. Air Force. "We examined the expertise of IBM's commercial performance in cloud computing and asked them to develop an architecture that could lead to improved performance within the Air Force environment to improve all operational, analytical and security capabilities."

Which is cut and pasted into the CNet news article as well.

On the other hand, there are some good insights by Larry Dignan on his ZDnet blog.

What’s in it for IBM? Cloud computing has a lot of interest, but security remains a worry for many IT buyers. If Big Blue can demonstrate cloud-based cyber security technologies that’s good enough for the military it would allay a lot of those worries.

The advanced cyber security and analytics technologies that will be used in the Air Force project were developed by IBM Research (statement).

According to IBM the project will show a cloud computing architecture that can support large networks and meet the government’s security guidelines. The Air Force network almost 100 bases and 700,000 active military personnel.

and Larry continues on the key concepts of what will be shown.  Models!!! yea!

  • The model will include autonomic computing;
  • Dashboards will monitor the health of the network second-by-second;
  • If Air Force personnel doesn’t shift to a “prevention environment” in a cyber attack the cloud will have automated services to lock the network down.