NATO sends “Wargames” up into the Cloud

Big Blue and Microsoft have been conscripted by NATO to help organize a future private and public cloud strategy respectively for the 28-nations affiliated to this international defense body.

Officially the relationship between IBM and NATO has been termed a “strategic technology project” to meet the challenges of 21st Century technology integration in this vast pan-nation network.

Intriguingly, the announcement comes mere months after a declaration of mutual collaboration with Microsoft in September of last year. It appears that NATO has decided to use Microsoft for an off-premise, remote cloud strategy while IBM has been tasked with helping deploy an on-premise solution for the Alliance.

Cloud computing was one of five projects that Microsoft was originally tasked with to help NATO formulate its strategy.

Microsoft will be conducting technical workshops on ‘cloud computing’ in early 2011 and has also been exploring some specific applications for ‘cloud’ solutions to solve capability shortfalls in off-site implementations.

There are also indications that Hewlett Packard Dell, Orange business Services and others have also been approached by NATO to advise on a coherent cloud computing strategy.

One of the reasons Big Blue was selected for the massive NATO undertaking may be because IBM has established something called a Federal Community Cloud to meet the specific requirements of the U.S government. It also created something called a Municipal Shared Services Cloud for local and state departments. This experience in federated cloud management may have been the tipping point in helping NATO select the tech behemoth to help map out its private cloud strategy.

“By aggregating and sharing disparate computing resources, from networks to servers to storage, a cloud computing model will help the Alliance deploy IT capabilities more broadly, quickly and cost effectively,” said an IBM press release.

NATO has said previously in it’s dealings with Microsoft that the relationship between the military world and industry is very important, since even if the end aim is substantially different, the interaction brings beneficial effects to both sides. The industry benefits from understanding the direction in which we are going, and we open a window on the technological future and have a broader range of solutions to choose from.

In another interesting twist to the above NATO has also confirmed it will be experimenting in deploying a new data center that will be used to support several “wargame” activities including The Coalition Warrior Interoperability eXercise, eXamination, eXperimentation and eXploration event (CWIX); Maritime Situational Awareness (MSA); Joint Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (JISR) and architecture experimentation.

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