Navy to add more “virtual desktop infrastructure”
- By Michael Fabey
- Feb 21, 2017
Two U.S. Navy scientists are creating a cloud-based platform that will allow scientists and engineers to accelerate research and experimentation at lower computing cost.
Brian Meadows and Socrates Frangis are research scientists working at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division (NSWC PHD) in the Office of Engineering and Technology, U.S. Frangis teaches scientists and engineers at the division and helps guide Naval Innovative Science and Engineering (NISE) projects for the command.
Their creation -- the virtual innovation and research lab (VIRL) -- is just getting off the ground, the Navy said. VIRL is a virtual cluster designed to host 25 applications that help staff researchers and principal investigators for NISE projects.
VIRL creates virtual machines on a remote server, Navy officials said. It creates a virtual desktop infrastructure similar to early computing operations, when a mainframe computer did all the processing and the end users were on dummy terminal clients, Navy officials said.
VIRL utilizes a very powerful server. End users have a small, secure, inexpensive common-access card enabled device on their desk called a zero-client, which they hook up a monitor, keyboard, and a mouse.
If successful, the Navy said, VIRL will roll out to up to 250 users in fiscal year 2018. Once operational, VIRL will result in cost avoidance of between $200 and $300 per client.
Zero-client is also easier to manage administratively, the Navy said, which should make it cheaper to develop software updates and patches. The software baseline has a smaller security footprint, making it more secure than a traditional information technology infrastructure.
"This is an innovative technology project,” Frangis said, in a Navy statement. “We know the technology works, but no one has really tried to create a micro-cloud at the Navy-working level. We are attempting to integrate this with the existing research development test and evaluation network to demonstrate a technology which is useful. We think we can, but that's the risk we are taking with this S&T project. If we're right, the command will have a new expanded capability."
Mike Fabey is a freelance writer for Defense Systems.