Home' Defense Systems : September and October 2014 Contents BY BILL ROWAN
Aparadigm shi is happening
inside the Defense Department.
DOD organizations are embrac-
ing the idea that computing does not
need to take place in a physical arena.
is change is happening due to mul-
tiple macro-trends and technological
e current budgetary climate is forc-
ing all agencies to reduce spending and
make IT more e cient. is major trend
is augmented by mandates driving data
center consolidation e orts and desktop
virtualization. Combined, these trends
are accelerating the move towards the
so ware-de ned ghting force. It simply
isn t logical any longer to think of defense
IT as needing to be physical.
Today, defense organizations are able
to apply cloud computing best practices
from Fortune 1000 companies to allow
for more nimble applications for the
war ghter, delivered when and where
they need them. ese applications can
come from logically separated and physi-
cally separated locations. Virtualization
is the key to providing speed and agility
by liberating resources from physical
An easy way to explain this is to de-
scribe the traditional IT infrastructure
scenario. A speci c mission requirement
is identi ed and needs to be provisioned.
To meet that requirement, speci c and
siloed resources are spun up -- server, op-
erating system, data storage and network-
ing. ese resources are only used when
called upon by the actual application or
service in the eld -- otherwise they sit
Contrast the traditional scenario with
a virtual cloud scenario. In this environ-
ment, there is one large pool of resources
that are leveraged on an as-needed basis.
Computing power, storage and network-
ing resources are tapped only when the
applications are in use. When they are
not being used, the resources are released
back to the pool, creating greater ef-
ciencies. is is the new and more agile
military IT scenario.
e virtual cloud scenario allows IT
resources to be directed with pinpoint
accuracy in real-time. By shortening the
time required to go from concept, to test
and through to production, the war ghter
is better protected in the eld. Greater
IT agility makes military forces lean and
lightweight, which is bad news for our
Physical IT cannot possibly be as agile.
In many ways, ine ciency is built into
the traditional computing model. Going
back to our traditional scenario again, let s
assume the application being supported
is used six hours a day. at s one quarter
of a full day, yet the resources remain
powered up and are sitting there for 24
hours. By design, this IT infrastructure is
75 percent ine cient.
A useful analogy is how electricity
works in a home, which in many ways is
as exible as a virtualized IT infrastruc-
ture. e electricity in a home is there
when needed, and when not needed it can
be turned o and no costs are incurred.
at s an e ective virtual model.
To continue with this analogy, if the
electrical power delivered to a home was
based on the traditional IT model, we d
all need separate dedicated lines to each
room ... all powered up 24/7. e bill at
the month s end would be whopping, a er
only using a fraction of the capacity.
at gives you an idea of the immense
increase in computing power and e cien-
cy that the virtual cloud enables, without
requiring any additional sta , electricity,
oor space or environmental footprint.
A virtual environment allows defense
organizations to get resources where they
are needed, and at the exact right time.
is is the only thing that matters. Where
these resources come from is second-
ary. In the eld, situational awareness is
maintained by the CAOC -- Combined
Air Operations Center. All of the re-
sources in the area are pooled, and then
projected by the CAOC to where they are
Moving beyond physical to virtual is
a natural evolution for defense IT. It s
more e cient and cost-e ective. DOD
has made great strides, but the transition
must accelerate if we expect to maintain
and enhance the IT superiority that sup-
ports America s war ghters. Potential ad-
versaries aren t standing still, and neither
can we. ■
Bill Rowan is vice president of VMware's
U.S. Department of Defense team.
32 SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2014 | DefenseSystems.com
Defense IT s move toward a software-de ned ghting force
Virtual more agile than physical
By design, a physical IT
infrastructure is 75 percent
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