Navy and Marines Directed to Use Virtual Servers by 2017

By Bob Brewin

July 31, 2013

The Navy and Marine Corps must run all operating systems and applications in a virtual server environment, Navy Department Chief Information Officer Terry Halvorsen said in a memo  released Wednesday.

The move will allow multiple operating systems and applications to run on a single physical server, “reducing operational costs and improving flexibility within the existing information technology infrastructure,” Halvorsen said.  Virtual servers host applications and operating systems on a single piece of hardware, acting like a real computer with the hardware partitioned to host the virtual machines.

Halvorson directed Navy and Marine deputy CIOs to submit within 120 days a plan for virtualization of all servers and server-based systems and applications by the end of fiscal 2017. These plans must include converting at the rate of 15 percent a year and a process to ensure that all future systems and applications are developed to deploy and operate in a virtualized environment.

Virtualization is just one of multiple efficiency efforts the Navy and Marines need to pursue to reduce costs, Halvorsen said. In April he directed the two services to use commercial cloud services to host unclassified publicly releasable information.

The 2017 virtualization timeline “will set the stage and enable more effective execution of parallel efficiency efforts such as system/application rationalization, standardization, and data center consolidation,” the memo said.

Halvorsen appears to be steering a path for Navy and Marine computing independent of the Defense Information Systems Agency, which offers server hosting and virtualization services in its data centers.

Halvorsen also pre-empted DISA with his commercial cloud policy. DISA did not release its commercial cloud draft request for proposals until June 25 and does not plan to release the final procurement until sometime in August. Halvorsen said the Navy decided to pursue its own commercial cloud computing strategy because it “must move forward and employ capable solutions that meet mission and security requirements and provide the best value.”

(Image via Flickr user usnavalinstitute)

By Bob Brewin

July 31, 2013