In modern warfare, cloud technology and edge computing make for mighty weapons. Critical to every mission is the ability to get information and intelligence to individual soldiers or small teams conducting operations in remote and often austere or hostile environments. These locations are known as the tactical network edge. On this battlefield, victors can rise or fall on the strength of their data.
“In the past, you’d say, ‘Do I have my batteries? Do I have my ammunition? Do I have my fuel?’” said former Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work in an Amazon Web Services (AWS) webcast, Enabling the Warfighter: Bringing Cloud to the Tactical Edge.
“The first thing that warfighters are going to ask in the future is, ‘Do I have my data and do I have access to my data?’”
Data Center in a Box
To deliver high volumes of data in the field, new modular appliances are becoming available. They pack the compute, storage, and networking capabilities of enterprise-grade data centers into compact cases that can be deployed in forward operating bases, command posts, ground vehicles, and air and sea craft.
These portable data centers use small form-factor modules for compute, storage and networking functions and meet military-standard size, weight and power (SWaP) limitations.
“Over the last five or six years, the federal government has been trying to reduce SWaP so warfighters can carry less equipment, spend less time on logistics, transportation and setup,and focus more on the mission at hand,” said Chris Barnes, director of systems engineering at Klas Telecom Government.
Klas Telecom is maker of the Voyager Tactical Data Center (TDC), in partnership with Nutanix. Ruggedized to stringent military standards, the TDC can scale to support up to hundreds of users. It’s lightweight, battery-backed with hot-swappable modules and has a built-in uninterruptible power supply. The TDC delivers continuous services and applications locally to soldiers in the field, while synching up with the main data center servers when connectivity becomes available.