Six months ago, we introduced the concept of Blackboard 4.0, a reenergized and recommitted education technology leader, developing best-in-class products and services and delivering on customer commitments and expectations.

Towards that end, I have great news to share: an exciting new strategic partnership for Blackboard. We have selected Amazon Web Services (AWS) as our strategic cloud services provider and have entered into an agreement with IBM to manage our cloud and datacenter computing infrastructure as we move to the AWS Cloud. These partnerships will enable us to focus on what we do best, developing innovative educational products and services, while relying on the world-class hosting and operational capabilities of AWS and IBM.

We spent considerable time selecting these partners, and we’re confident that we’ve made great choices. AWS is a leader in cloud services, with one of the largest cloud infrastructure footprints, a well-developed technology ecosystem, and tremendous momentum around their pace of innovation. And IBM is one of the top infrastructure management organizations in the world.

Equally important, both companies share our values, are passionate about education, and are dedicated to delivering extraordinary customer experiences. This includes providing always-on systems, backing them up with great support, and being obsessive about maintaining the privacy and security of customer information. Under the agreement, we will only maintain or improve our compliance with appropriate privacy standards.

By focusing our future development on the AWS platform, we will be able to leverage not only AWS’s operational strengths and nearly infinite scale, but also the increasingly formidable breadth of capabilities it provides both natively and via the rapidly growing ecosystem of innovations coming from its partners.

We chose IBM to take on the role of infrastructure management because it brings world-class people, processes, and technology to the partnership. IBM brings deep experience and unique capabilities to bear. One exciting technology that we’ll be leveraging is IBM’s predictive analytics, that foresee potential component failures and give us the opportunity to deal with them in advance, avoiding disruptions. Under the agreement, IBM will provide infrastructure management and operations for all current Blackboard datacenters as we move to the AWS Cloud. Blackboard staff will continue to operate our applications, provide support for our customers, and act as the interface between the customer and the infrastructure teams – just as they do today.

Our relationship with AWS and IBM is integrated. There are no gaps in accountability for delivering reliable services to our clients. And its backed by a comprehensive and robust set of service level commitments to deliver highly available and responsive services for you.

To sum up, we’re tremendously excited about partnering with AWS and IBM, global leaders in infrastructure services and operations, to deliver extraordinary capability to our customers. And we’re excited by what’s on the horizon for Blackboard and our customers as we continue to focus on delivering innovative products that address some of the most pressing challenges in education.


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