NATO set to rule the cloud with IBM’s help

NATO set to rule the cloud

The military has been at the forefront of every technological and scientific advancement over the last century. From jet engines to computers to the Internet, all of these innovations have seen the light of day under military guidance. Therefore, it is not surprising that NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), the premier strategic alliance in the world today, as decided to venture into the dynamic field of cloud computing in a big way and have enlisted the help of Big Blue IBM in the process.

Although cooperation on tactical and strategic matters is not a matter of concern for NATO’s 28 member-states, information compatibility is certainly an issue, with all the members maintaining their own individual and often disparate technologies. With information-sharing a crucial component of modern warfare, NATO is taking steps to address this issue with its foray in cloud computing.

Under this project under the aegis of NATO’s Allied Command Transformation (ACT), responsible for organizing NATO Network Enabled Capability (NNEC), IBM has been tasked with creating a system that can tie in resources from different networks, servers, and storage devices, and provide a common way for all NATO members to work with critical data and communications.

IBM executives have gone on record on how cloud computing can help NATO.

“Cloud computing is ideally suited for [NATO]. It takes the disparate capabilities of 28 nations and brings them together in an efficient, effective, and less costly fashion than might otherwise be
the case,” said Ernest Herold, NATO account manager for IBM global business services.

He went on to describe a scenario where this project can contribute towards operational efficiencies and effectiveness. In Afghanistan, ground commanders may receive information
from a number of source like drones, satellites and ground forces. Currently, these information streams are not integrated and have to be evaluated individually.

However, as result of this cloud computing project, this will no longer be the case.

“In a cloud computing environment, a commander can take that information and automatically present it in a variety of fashions to make faster and better decisions,” Herold explained.

“Cloud computing has the potential to dramatically improve decision-making based on real-time data and lay a strong foundation for greater focus on innovation so that NATO can
achieve its complex mission requirements,”

added Anne Altman, general manager, IBM global public sector.

The project is to be developed from the NATO military command center at Virginia and the first test results are expected in the summer. The budget has not yet been disclosed.

“We look forward to working with IBM to help us understand emerging information technologies and see how we can use them to create a leaner and more agile organization,”

Johan Goossens, head of ACT’s Technology & Human Factors Branch, said in a statement.

“Through this collaborative project, we hope to be able to realize the potential of cloud computing to tackle new challenges more efficiently, ultimately benefiting the NATO member
nations.”

With this vote of confidence from NATO, cloud computing’s popularity is set to increase.

By Sourya Biswas

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