Hyper-convergence blends with virtual machines and rugged computers for network-centric warfare
SAN DIEGO, 19 Feb. 2016. Hyper-convergence, virtual machines, and similar technologies are on the verge of revolutionizing military network-centric warfare and enabling the deployment of powerful data centers in light military vehicles to bring wideband military Internet capability to the leading edge of the battlefield.
The notion of the data center in the back of a Humvee was a leading trend among exhibitors this week at the AFCEA West conference and trade show in San Diego.
Hyper-convergence involves software-defined network computing that tightly integrates computer processors, data storage, networking, virtual machines, and other technologies from scratch in a commodity hardware box supported by one vendor.
A hyper-converged system enables users to manage integrated technologies as one system through a common tool set. Hyper-converged systems can expand by adding nodes to the base unit.
This design approach is becoming common today in the corporate data center, but the addition of rugged embedded computing, rugged data routers, rugged data storage systems, and similar technologies is beginning to bring power networked and virtual computing to the battlefield.
Such capability could move to the leading edge of the battlefield by blending ruggedized computer, networking, and storage hardware with software tools necessary to create and blend software-defined computing, software-defined data storage, software-defined networking, and similar technologies.
Traditional military rugged computing companies exhibiting at AFCEA West are considering this design trend and are starting to roll out products to meet anticipated military demand.
Among the companies beginning to roll out rugged hyper-converged computing products for military battlefield use are Themis Computer in Fremont, Calif., with products like the Themis Hyper-Unity rugged all-flash hyper-converged, scalable infrastructure.
Other rugged computing companies exhibiting at AFCEA West that may be moving toward hyper-converged rugged computing products include Crystal Group in Hiawatha, Iowa; Core Systems in Poway, Calif.;Germane Systems in Chantilly, Va.; Chassis Plans LLC in San Diego; and Systel Inc. in Sugar Land, Texas.
Other rugged computing companies could be expected to be moving down the hyper-convergence path to offer new generations of rugged networked computing military applications. Some of those companies include General Micro Systems (GMS) in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.; the Curtiss Wright Corp. Defense Solutions division in Ashburn, Va.; Abaco Systems in Huntsville, Texas; Kontron in Poway, Calif.; Extreme Engineering Solutions (X-ES) in Middleton, Wis.; and Mercury Systems in Chelmsford, Mass.
Offering hyper-converged computer and networking products is not without its challenges. One key issue involves balancing actual and virtual computing resources like computer processors, data storage, networking, and I/O, explains Roland Schmidt, senior director of business development and sales at Themis Computer.
Systems developers uncovered many different problems as they started developing hyper-converged products. One of these problems involved converging computing power without adequate consideration of data storage and I/O needs.
Still, developers are coming to grips with many of these problems, and reliable products are starting to hit the market. The era of the rugged data center in the back of a Humvee is upon us.