VMware ACE implementation diagram.  (Source:
USMC to rely heavily on VMware technology.

Yesterday, VMware quietly announced a plan to virtualize nearly all of the US Marine Corps’ IT infrastructure.  The company stated in a press release that 98 percent of the branch’s infrastructure will be virtualized by 2012. 

The Palo Alto, CA- based company says this will benefit the USMC by increasing “availability, security, continuity, and sustainability of its enterprise while decreasing event recovery time.” 

VMware Infrastructure
will be used to greatly consolidate IT hardware.  Currently the USMC relies on 300 world wide data centers with approximately 1200 servers.  This will be reduced to 30 data centers and 100 mobile platforms.  VMware Infrastructure is the worlds’ most widely deployed infrastructure virtualization suite.  It consolidates the functions of multiple machines by virtualizing servers, storage, and networks. 

WMware ACE will provide the USMC with increased deployment flexibility by offering portable desktops that can be stored on a USB thumb drive.  This will allow combat units to access the same working environment from any location on almost any computer. 

The ACE suite allows organizations to create a mobile virtual platform that can be implemented on managed and un-managed computers alike.  The virtual network is secured using full-volume encryption and granular access control over all ports on the network.  The granular access control allows administrators to lock down computers and ports remotely.

Allowing mobile combat units to access and update the same working environments should help keep everyone through the command chain informed with the most up to date information provided by field units.  This will increase the speed and breadth of communication, thus saving American lives.  One does have to wonder though if the USMC is exposing its IT infrastructure to attack by relying so heavily on one company’s technologies. 

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