Hewlett-Packard has been chosen as the principal IT partner of the STORM Clouds, a European Commission project which will set up frameworks for the provision of cloud-based services for regional governments.
It is hoped the project will accelerate the adoption of cloud-based public services in fields such as energy conservation, environmental monitoring and crime prevention.
As part of the project, HP will design and implement the Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) platform based on its (OpenStack-based) Helion cloud technology.
The STORM (Surfing Towards the Opportunity of Real Migration) Clouds project is part of EU Digital Agenda – a common European IT and telecommunications strategy overseen by the recently appointed vice-president for Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip.
The project aspires to create a common framework for cloud-based government services that can then be exported across country borders. Its proponents say such framework would boost local economies, save costs, improve access to information and increase citizen engagement in the decision-making process.
To test this approach, STORM Clouds has been running pilots in four cities: Thessaloniki in Greece, Águeda in Portugal, Valladolid in Spain and Manchester in the UK. Each city has deployed a different cloud-based local government project - for example, Valladolid has given citizens online access to municipal development plans, while Manchester has used mobile apps to promote its cultural events and heritage.
“Europe must ensure that new IT devices, applications, data repositories and services interact seamlessly anywhere – just like the Internet,” said Xavier Poisson-Gouyou Beauchamps, vice president of cloud computing EMEA at HP. “This project aims to make collaboration between public authorities easier and more cost effective through the sharing and re-use of common platforms, components and infrastructures. As a result, municipalities across the EU will take a step closer to becoming truly ‘smart cities’.”
As the principal STORM Clouds IT partner, HP will build a cloud platform and develop relevant methodologies and certification. The company says its framework will be based on open, interoperable standards, which will be validated by citizens and public authorities in the pilot regions.
Cities which are looking to “cloudify” their public services can apply for a place in the pilot program on the STORM Clouds website.
Earlier this week, HP introduced the Helion Rack – a pre-configured, pre-tuned private cloud solution based on OpenStack and Cloud Foundry technology.