Army shifts logistics data to IBM cloud

Shutterstock image: cloud network, concept.

The U.S. Army is using the IBM Hybrid Cloud to run the busy logistics system of the Army Materiel Command, known as LOGSA, which processes more than 40 million transactions per day.

LOGSA (for Logistics Support Activity) is home to the Army's Logistics Information Warehouse, which provides logistics and business analytics services to more than 65,000 users, and is described by the Army as the "backbone of its logistics support hub."

IBM's work for LOGSA goes back to 2012. The move to the cloud took place over the course of last year, and the Army added a layer of business analytics to the mix as part of a $60 million modification to an existing IBM contract made in December 2014.

The Army is "taking advantage of the inherent benefits of hybrid cloud: security and the ability to connect it with an existing IT system. It also gives the Army the flexibility to incorporate new analytics services and mobile capabilities," Anne Altman, general manager for U.S. Federal at IBM, said in a statement.

The on-premise cloud is based at Army Materiel Command headquarters in Redstone Arsenal, Ala. The system is designed to integrate with an array of existing Army IT systems. By putting data in the cloud, Army logistics personnel gain access to the most up-to-date information on the movement and location of equipment. The analytics services are designed to integrate information on materiel, including readiness, force structure and the state of repair of Army equipment.

The IBM announcement comes just days after the Army publicly released its cloud computing strategy. Army Deputy CIO Gary Wang announced in a blog post that the service is working to open its network to federally approved government and commercial cloud providers, as it pushes to reduce ownership of commodity IT equipment.

"While we are excited about the opportunities that accompany this dynamic shift in the way the Army develops, acquires and delivers IT capabilities and services, we are also aware it comes with significant challenges and inherent risks. We must take care not to compromise the mission by unrealistically trading the confidentiality, integrity and availability of critical data and information in pursuit of the benefits the cloud may offer," Wang wrote.

The Army cloud strategy isn't just about buying cloud. The plan also calls for enterprise-wide coordination to make sure that data, business practices, applications and security are synchronized to run effectively in a cloud environment. "The ability to connect to cloud capabilities assures that Army computing and communications resources, authoritative data sources, services and information are available, accessible and safeguarded, from the enterprise to the edge," per the Army's cloud strategy document.

The Army plans to issue policy guidance on buying commercial cloud services in the next few weeks.

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


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