Navy pushes for total server virtualization to cut costs

Thursday - 8/1/2013, 6:02am EDT

By Cogan Schneier
Special to Federal News Radio

The Department of the Navy will virtualize all current servers, including server- based systems and applications in the next few months.

A memo, issued Wednesday by DoN Chief Information Officer Terry Halvorsen, stated virtualization is one of the many efficiency efforts the service is utilizing to achieve cost reductions.

"The process of virtualization will allow multiple operating systems and applications to be run on a single physical server, thus reducing operational costs and improving flexibility within the existing information technology infrastructure," the memo said.

DoN deputy CIOs must submit plans by January 2014 detailing how they will virtualize all servers and server-based systems or applications by the end of fiscal 2017.

The strategy must convert a minimum of 15 percent of each Budget Submitting Office's computing environment per year, until full virtualization is reached in three years.

Additionally, Navy and Marine Corps technical authorities must establish platform standards for enterprise virtualization that comply with the published technical authority standards. Plans also must include processes to provide quarterly progress reports to the CIO, as well as a system to be sure future systems are developed and ready for a virtualized environment.

If system or application owners do not think their programs can be virtualized, they must submit a waiver request to the DoN CIO for approval by Sept. 30, 2014. The Navy deputy CIO must first endorse waivers before they are submitted.

The memo said permanent waivers would not be granted; however, waivers will be good for one year and be reconsidered during annual reviews.

The Navy made the decision two years ago to reduce its IT costs by 25 percent in the face of Defensewide budget reductions. In searching for ways to do so, the Navy recently found previously unknown technology in its infrastructure, including servers, data centers and applications.

Navy then decided to scale back data centers from 210 to 25, which caused uproar from employees who relied exclusively on servers, Navy Deputy CIO Janice Haith said in February. Haith said employees were not virtualizing, and the service was buying servers over and over again. Estimates placed hardware procurements at almost $500 million per year.

The service has tackled savings in other areas such as mobile devices and wireless service. DoN reduced spending on mobile capabilities by 20 percent in May.

Cogan Schneier is an intern for Federal News Radio.

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