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CHIPS Articles: DON Virtualization Policy to Provide Cost Savings, Enhanced Security

DON Virtualization Policy to Provide Cost Savings, Enhanced Security
By Randy Darrow - January-March 2014
The Department of the Navy Chief Information Officer formalized policy regarding virtualization of enterprise IT systems and servers in a memo issued 29 July 2013. The policy, "Server, System, and Application Virtualization," requires Navy and Marine Corps commands and organizations to submit to the DON CIO their plans to virtualize all current and future servers by the end of Fiscal Year 2017.

Virtualization is a technique that permits multiple systems and applications to operate on a single server by sharing physical resources. The savings that the DON will realize by employing fewer servers —reduced costs for power, equipment maintenance, technical support and facilities operations — are an important part of the department’s enterprise IT efficiency efforts.

However, virtualization’s benefits are not limited solely to cost savings; the DON’s cybersecurity posture will be enhanced as well. Virtualized systems promote standardization and facilitate centralized patching and application updates, have fewer administration requirements, and are simpler to certify and accredit. The DON’s virtualization policy encompasses investments at all stages of the enterprise IT life cycle, including development, and will ensure that all future DON systems or applications are virtualized from inception to retirement.

The plans that the Navy and Marine Corps will submit must include the following:

  • Conversion of a minimum of 15 percent of each Budget Submitting Office's (BSO) computing environment per year, with 100 percent virtualization achieved by the end of Fiscal Year 2017.
  • Adherence to enterprise virtualization platform standards established by the Navy and Marine Corps Technical Authorities.
  • Processes for providing quarterly progress reports to the DON CIO.
  • Processes to ensure that all future systems and applications are developed to deploy and operate in virtualized environments.

The Navy and the Marine Corps are well on the path to virtualization. In the ashore environment, each of the services has already reported achieving greater than 47 percent server virtualization overall, and some organizations are approaching 100 percent. Due to the unique challenges faced by afloat and tactical units, they have only achieved limited virtualization. However, technical advancements and lessons learned ashore will help these units make significant advances in the future.

The virtualization inititive directed in the July 29 memo will serve to advance related efficiency efforts such as system and application rationalization, standardization, and data center consolidation as the DON enterprise continues to develop and deploy modern IT systems and applications to support its warfighters.

Randy Darrow is a member of the DON CIO IT Efficiencies and Analysis Directorate, Efficiencies Branch.

DON CIO seal.
DON CIO seal.
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