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The cloud platform will offer applications and hosting to municipalities and state agencies in California

The cloud platform will offer applications and hosting to municipalities and state agencies in California

In what appears to be the first of its kind in the US, the California Department of Technology and IBM have announced CalCloud, a shared, state-wide cloud platform where municipalities and all state and local government agencies can subscribe to different kinds of cloud services.

The FedRAMP-approved platform, which has gone live this week, will allow government entities in California to share a common pool of computing resources and procure cloud hosting and application services more efficiently according to those involved with the project.

“The CalCloud solution’s really going to give control of the IT systems back to their customers. They’re going to be able to scale up or down to match workload requirements,” said Ron Hughes, deputy director of operations at the California Department of Technology.

“They’re going to have much more flexibility to respond to customer demand, and an ability to do it in a timely manner,” he added.

As part of the partnership, IBM is supplying and managing the cloud infrastructure (which will use AT&T’s network), while the California Department of Technology will manage all other aspects of the service offering.

IBM said it will work closely with the state to transfer knowledge and best practice in security and systems integration to the Department of Technology, and help users migrate to cloud-based services.

“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, IBM Global Technology Services.

“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,” Clementi said.

Neera Chauhan, CalCloud project director at the California Department of Technology said the cloud service offering has reached a maturity point making it suitable for all kinds of workloads.

“If you’re looking to offload your test and development environment to the cloud, or if you’re a small department with very tight budget requirements, and you’re trying to provide enterprise-class services on a small budget, cloud is the right service offering,” he said.

While the programme has the potential to radically change how California’s public sector consumes IT services (IBM said it has already received 20 requests for access to cloud software from California’s pubic sector) the CalCloud launch comes at a time when the US federal government continues to struggle implementing cloud services despite its ‘cloud-first’ policy.

According to research published this week, although nearly three in every four US federal government agencies are using at least one cloud service, most federal government IT staff see a very limited role for cloud services within their overall IT strategy, and most seem to rate their implementation of ‘cloud-first’ quite poorly.