The US Navy: it's not just a job, it's a virtual adventure.
In a sweeping directive issued this week, US Department of the Navy CIO Terry A Halvorsen has ordered every IT department in the Navy and Marine Corps to plan for a complete switchover to virtualised systems by 2017.
The initiative, which will be performed in stages beginning immediately, is needed to achieve "operational cost reductions and improve flexibility" in existing information technology infrastructure, Halvorsen wrote.
IT leaders across the two military branches have 120 days to submit their plans for the virtualisation of all servers and server-based systems and applications by the end of 2017.
As part of Halvorsen's edict, all new servers and server-based systems and applications not already approved for deployment must now be virtualisation-capable.
The news is likely to affect hundreds of IT contractors and subcontractors that deliver and manage Navy and Marine Corps systems, particularly HP, which last month scored the largest single IT contract in the federal government with a deal to run the Navy's communications network, a deal valued at around $3.5bn (£2.3bn) over five years.
The HP contract is the successor to the infamous NMCI project, the $9bn EDS contract inked in 2000 to build and run intranet services for 700,000 sailors and US Marines.
The virtualisation plans from each unit that reports to Halvorsen must include a roadmap to virtualise at least 15 per cent of the department's computing environment annually until 100 per cent virtualisation is achieved, as well as a process to ensure that all future systems and applications are developed to deploy and operate in a virtualised environment, Halvorsen wrote.
Administrators who feel their systems or applications cannot be virtualised can apply for a waiver by the end of September 2014. But those units should be forewarned: Halvorsen explicitly says the waivers are only good for one year and that no permanent waivers will be granted.
"Virtualisation is one of multiple efficiency efforts that the Department of the Navy must pursue to achieve cost reductions," Halvorsen wrote. "The timeline permits a graduated approach to virtualisation, which will set the stage and enable more effective execution of parallel efficiency efforts such as system or application rationalisation, standardisation and datacentre consolidation."
As part of our special editorial partnership, CRN is republishing this article from Channelnomics
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