[Editor's Note: This is a guest blog from James Schenck, an Army veteran and the president of the PenFed Foundation, a military support organization.] This Fourth of July, I ask you to join me in saluting the sacrifices of all veterans who served to defend our nation and remembering their contributions. While the nation reflects on sacrifices of veterans this Independence Day who did not return back from war, I also would like to salute members of the military who sacrificed in other ways.
Migration into a cloud environment by means of virtualization of servers is extremely attractive and has instant paybacks. Compared with other software-intensive improvements, the ability to combine servers in order to increase computer utilization from less than 20 percent to over 70 percent is the most attractive choice in the current environment, when cuts in IT budgets for FY12 and beyond are required by end of this July.
Server virtualization is well understood. The technology is mature. There are a number of software vendors who can deliver server virtualization rapidly and at a fixed cost. The question is what are the potential savings that can be proposed as cost reductions?
Gen. Keith Alexander, USA, the head of the new cyber command, stated that the Defense Department needs situational awareness across DOD's networks to protect its cyber defenses: "We do not have a common operating picture for our networks. We need to build that."
The Defense Department is responsible for protecting more than seven million machines, linked in 15,000 networks, with 21 satellite gateways and 20,000 commercial circuits. Unauthorized users probe Defense Department networks 250,000 times an hour, or more than six million times per day, he added.
(The following post continues the conversation from Gentlemen Do Not Open Attachments.)
1. Thin Client Case
A person with a ".mil" address walks up to a thin client anywhere in the world and logs in to the DoD NIPRNET "Secure Desktop" using a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) access card, plus biometric ID. A thin client then presents a menu of available virtual computers to connect to. The choices will include secure NIPRNET-connected desktops, as well as insecure desktops connected to the Internet, as illustrated below:
Two weeks ago, I listened to a U.S. Marine Corps brigadier general plead for a lightweight personal computer that shooters could use at the squad level. All of the talk he heard about net-centric networks was meaningless because network centricity did not reach where it was needed. If the civilians could walk around with BlackBerrys, why couldn't the U.S. Defense Department provide comparable services?