Virtualization Helping Save Tax Dollars

A U.S. defense agency has used virtualization to consolidate 17 data centers down to three, and reduce the number of servers from 560 to 160.

An agency within the U.S Department of Defense has virtualized nearly its entire server infrastructure, consolidating 17 data centers down to three, and reducing the number of servers from 560 to just 160. The Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA), which manages contracts for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), used VMware virtualization software to improve its server utilization and data center management.

"DCMA has a duty to spend taxpayer money wisely while keeping the infrastructure running on a daily basis, and VMware Infrastructure allows us to do that," said Mike Williams, the CIO of the DCMA. "Virtualization is a key component of our data center strategy and a cost-efficient way for us to accommodate agency growth without requiring additional data center space."

Virtualization decouples the physical hardware from the operating system, allowing multiple "virtual machines," with heterogeneous operating systems to run in isolation, side-by-side on the same physical machine. Virtual machines are encapsulated into files, making it easy to save and copy a virtual machine, which can then be be moved from one server to another. This allows applications based on Linux and Windows to run on the same server, rather than being constrained to a dedicated server running one OS or the other.

The DCMA acts as the contract manager for the Department of Defense, ensuring that systems, supplies and services are delivered on time and within budget. With VMware Infrastructure, DCMA has offset server hardware maintenance and upgrade costs while simplifying data center management and emergency recovery procedures.

"DCMA has really leveraged VMware Infrastructure and as a result has seen huge return on investment," said Aileen Black, vice president of Federal Sales at VMware. "VMware Infrastructure hits the sweet spot for government CIOs, offering a means for substantial capital and operational cost savings over physical infrastructure as well as increased service levels, better application availability and the flexibility to meet new data center needs."

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