IBM SoftLayer is planning to launch data centers in Dallas and Ashburn, Virginia, dedicated to providing Infrastructure-as-a-Service to agencies of the U.S. federal government.
Both facilities will be compliant with FedRAMP, a standard set of security requirements all cloud service providers that serve federal agencies must meet as of this month.
Since 2011 federal agencies have been under pressure to replace data center infrastructure they own and operate themselves with cloud services to the maximum extent possible.
The government’s take-up of cloud services has been slow, however. FedRAMP was devised to speed it up, and the deadline for all cloud services used by the feds to be certified as FedRAMP-compliant was on June 5. Many of them were expected to blow it.
IBM is one of 11 providers that have the certification. Other certified IaaS providers are Akamai, AT&T, CGI, HP, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft and Amazon (there is also a handful of certified Platform-as-a-Service and Software-as-a-Service offerings).
Built for government needs
IBM plans to bring the Dallas data center online in June, and the Ashburn facility is slated to launch later this year. The facilities will host 30,000 servers in the beginning and share an isolated private 2,000 Gbps network, IBM said.
The company is building a dedicated security operations center for the two facilities. The center will provide clients additional security, availability and incident response capabilities.
Anne Altman, general manager for IBM’s U.S. Federal division, said the data centers were custom designed for government clients. “We’ve designed these centers with government clients' needs in mind, investing in added security features and redundancies to provide a high level of availability,” she said.
SoftLayer empire marches on
IBM has been on a data center construction kick after it announced it would invest $1.2 billion in expanding the physical footprint for its SoftLayer cloud services in January. The goal is to have 40 data centers on five continents, up from 25.
The latest addition to the portfolio was a SoftLayer data center in Hong Kong, announced earlier this month.
The company is also expanding its cloud reach through partnerships with colocation providers. Yesterday it announced the launch of Direct Link, a service companies in colocation data centers can use to connect to the SoftLayer cloud privately, bypassing the public Internet.