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November 27, 2013

HP helps deliver connectivity to Royal Navy

HP Enterprise Services UK leads contract for portable data centre solution to deliver uninterrupted connectivity for crews on-shore.

By Duncan Macrae

HP Enterprise Services UK has enabled Royal Navy crews to continue business as usual while their vessels are being refitted with a portable data centre.

Managed by HP, the ATLAS Consortium designed and built a secure, fully functional server room contained in a 1,169ft2 container.

This compact Refit Office, which was completed in just five months, provides a ship’s company with uninterrupted access to Defence Information Infrastructure (Future) systems during refits. It is currently enabling the crew of Royal Fleet Auxiliary Gold Rover, the Navy’s first DII(F)-equipped vessel requiring a refit, to stay connected while work is being carried out in Birkenhead dockyard.

Paul Johnson, DII deployed maritime programme manager, HP, said: "The Royal Navy needed a consistent IT infrastructure to provide business continuity. HP Enterprise Services ensured that the project was delivered on time and completely met the customer’s specific requirements. Not only does the new Refit Office provide continuity of service when a ship is in for refit – it provides the Royal Navy with a mobile utility which can be transported anywhere and put to use immediately."

As systems integrator and lead contractor on the project, HP coordinated the activities of the ATLAS Consortium, a collaborative team that also included Fujitsu, CGI and Cassidian. The solution was developed in conjunction with small/medium enterprise (SME) STS Defence, as well as the MoD’s Defence Information Systems and Services (DISS).

When a vessel goes in for refit, the ship’s nodes and equipment are decanted into the Refit Office while the crew works in four interconnected portacabins. The container’s four racks can be configured to meet a wide range of computing requirements.

Two of the smaller Maritime Type 2A nodes, each of which has up to 24 UADs and peripherals plus supporting servers, can be kept fully operational and connected to the outside world via satellite using Fleet Broadband. The system has been designed to be easily and inexpensively upgraded to support the larger Maritime Type 2B nodes.

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The project was delivered on time in an extremely short timescale, and the MoD has had good feedback from the first crew able to take advantage of the new facilities. In addition, the mobility and resilience of the containerised solution enable the MoD to use it in a far wider range of situations and locations around the globe.

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