PALO ALTO , Calif., Aug. 29 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- VMware, Inc. (NYSE: VMW), the global leader in software for industry-standard virtualized desktops and servers, today announced an agreement with General Dynamics C4 Systems, a business unit of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD), to develop a complete turn-key High-Assurance Platform (HAP) workstation using VMware software for a contract with the National Security Agency (NSA).
Chartered by the U.S. Office of the Secretary of Defense, the NSA contracted General Dynamics C4 Systems to design a secure workstation. General Dynamics chose VMware's industry-leading virtualization software so that HAP-mandated users employed by the U.S. Department of Defense, the intelligence community and other government agencies can access information requiring different security clearance levels from a single physical machine.
Since the passage of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, Federal security policy mandates that access to government network assets requires security features and certified assurance that exceed commercial-grade enterprise security standards. Currently, users with multiple security clearances such as members of the U.S. Armed Forces and Homeland Security personnel must use separate physical workstations, called creating an "air gap," to access information in each security clearance level in order to uphold the government's security standards. This creates expensive and logistically cumbersome IT environments.
VMware software allows users to run the equivalent of physically isolated machines with separate levels of security clearance on the same workstation. Through the joint HAP project, government agencies would be able to purchase an end-to-end secure workstation solution developed by General Dynamics that pre-integrates VMware software and provides secure access to multiple clearance levels in accordance with government regulations.
Agencies purchasing the HAP workstations stand to realize a number of other benefits in addition to enabling secure access to multiple clearance levels. The HAP workstations are designed to provide Tactical Armed Forces units a reduction in size, weight and power requirements for their mobile field environments while being able to share assured information across communities of interest, ensuring troops in the field receive the information they need when they need it.
United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) is partnering with the NSA to adopt an early release of this innovative solution for testing in an operational environment. This solution is designed to provide a capability that is not readily available to the warfighter today. USSOCOM intends to utilize this capability to protect sensitive data and streamline the sharing of that data in operational environments.
The HAP workstations are designed to provide multiple Department of Defense and intelligence agencies and programs, in addition to the various field commands, a significant reduction in user workstation footprints and associated lifecycle costs, providing an immediate decrease in network administration and hardware infrastructure costs while ensuring proper information sharing is effective, safe and secure.
"Being selected as the virtualization provider for this solution reaffirms VMware's commitment to providing the industry with highly secure and reliable virtualization software," said Aileen Black , Vice President of Federal Sales at VMware. "VMware virtualization software provides security and isolation to simplify IT operations in areas as wide-ranging as enterprise desktop management, application lifecycle management and system infrastructure management. Our efforts with General Dynamics and the NSA will allow government agencies with the most stringent security requirements to benefit from the broad efficiencies and flexibility afforded through virtualization."