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IBM Wins Its Largest U.S. Cloud-Computing Contract

The agreement shows that “IBM’s ability to help governments transform with new technologies, like cloud, continue to grow”

That's one big check for Big Blue.

IBM won a federal cloud-computing contract with a maximum value of $1 billion, its largest such agreement with the U.S. government, according to an article on Bloomberg.com.

The Interior Department awarded similar, 10-year pacts to nine other suppliers, including Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT), which also described the agreement as its largest federal cloud contract.

The deals might reach a combined $10 billion, allowing the agency to speed its efforts to move information to the cloud, a Web-based pool of shared resources such as data storage and software. Other U.S. departments may eventually tap the program.

The agreement shows that "IBM's ability to help governments transform with new technologies, like cloud, continue to grow," Michael Rowinski, a spokesman for the Armonk, New York-based company, said in an e-mail yesterday.

The award is a coup following IBM's loss to Amazon.com Inc. in the competition for a four-year, $600 million cloud contract with the Central Intelligence Agency. IBM may get another chance at that business following a successful protest to a federal office that arbitrates contract disputes.

The Interior Department's awards are "central to transforming our overall IT capabilities, which we expect to result in benefits of $100 million each year from 2016 to 2020," said Andrew Jackson, the agency's deputy assistant secretary for technology, information and business services.

"The approach we've chosen also allows us to speed up our acquisition process, which in turn allows us to leverage this technology more quickly," Jackson said in a blog posting on the department's website.

Cloud Computing Inspires Rethinking of Disaster Recovery
By definition, nothing good ever comes from a disaster. There's the physical destruction of property, the emotional toll of trying to bring order to chaos and, in terms of business concerns, the loss of information.

Fortunately, there are ways to limit the impact a disaster has on a business. Cloud computing gives organizations the opportunity to rethink many traditional IT practices, but it may be a particularly good fit for disaster recovery and business continuity.

Network World's Editor in Chief John Dix recently discussed the subject of disaster recovery with IBM Distinguished Engineer Richard Cocchiara, CTO and managing partner of Consulting for IBM's Business Continuity & Resiliency Services, for his perspective on the subject. Cocchiara leads a worldwide team who work with clients on systems availability, disaster recovery planning, business continuity management and IT governance.

One of the questions posed, according to an article on NetworkWorld.com, was "what are the different roles cloud can play in disaster recovery and business continuity?"

Probably the most basic thing is backing up data offsite. Most large companies have some sort of a backup strategy, but more often than you might think companies that are not sending their data offsite or not sending it far enough offsite. When asked if they have checked to see what potential regional issues they might have, sometimes they find some geological or weather or some other type of potential risk that would affect their ability to recover locally. Cloud gives them the ability to store data some place remote, store it online and to typically recover faster than from tape.

Read more on their discussion here.

Facebook Looking to Connect the Next 5 Billion People
Mark Zuckerberg might need a bigger book in which to keep his new friends.

Facebook, Ericsson, Mediatek, Opera Software, Samsung, Nokia and Qualcomm have joined to form Internet.org, an organization focused on making the Internet available to 5 billion more people, according to an article on eWEEK.com.

Currently, 2.7 billion people, or just more than one-third of the world's population, have access to the Internet, and so tools that enhance our lives, grow our worlds, and boost our personal and national incomes. Bringing those same opportunities to others around the world "is one of the greatest challenges of our generation," Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's 29-year-old CEO, said in a position paper, Is Connectivity a Human Right?, that he posted to his Facebook page Aug. 20.

More Internet users will mean more Facebook users, yes. But it will also mean more jobs and more innovations. According to analysis from McKinsey, the Internet - and the knowledge economy it perpetuates, versus the industrial and resource-based economies people otherwise must compete in - creates 2.6 new jobs for every job lost to "gained efficiencies," said the paper.

More Stories By Patrick Burke

Patrick Burke is a writer and editor based in the greater New York area and occasionally blogs for Rackspace Hosting.

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