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VMware Wins Israel Defense Forces Data Center Contract

Deal with security-conscious military organization boosts VMware's software-defined data center strategy.

VMware has won a multi-million dollar contract with the Israel Defense Forces that could provide VMware with a powerful case study to tout the strength and security of its software-defined date center technologies.

Although there was no formal written announcement of the contract, it was reported last week on IsraelDefense.com and acknowledged the same day in a VMware blog post summarizing weekly news involving the company. Jewish Business News reported that the deal was worth about $27 million.

The IsraelDefense report specifies that VMware's relationship with the Israeli military stretches back 10 years, and that all of IDF's data centers are already standardized on the company's vSphere technology. Under the new contract, IDF will add a three-year license for the enterprise version of VMware's vCloud Suite, with an apparent eye on establishing a software-defined data center environment.

The IsraelDefense report quoted VMware's Israel country manager, Raanan Biber, as saying the new platform "provides IDF a full and effective management ability to all components of SDDC." The report also said that the new VMware technology "will enable the IDF critical operational flexibility and continuity, as part of the transition to the Negev," a reference to the Israeli military's ongoing effort to consolidate all of its training operations at a new $650 million facility in the country's vast southern desert region.

Among the functionalities IDF gains are infrastructure management, capacity planning, and application and infrastructure provisioning and monitoring.

Virtualizing as many elements as possible in a military data center makes a lot of sense, Peter Christy, research director at 451 Research, said via email.

"Virtualization makes it much easier to set something up or move something," both of which would be critical assets to a military facility, particularly in the area of disaster recovery, Christy said.

[Read about VMware's expanded cloud management portfolio in "VMware Adds Public Cloud Management Tools."]

Christy said IDF's decision to invest in VMware's newer technology provides the latest evidence of the strong security in virtualization technologies. IDF is widely known to be one of the most technically savvy and security-conscious organizations in the world.

"In many ways (virtualization) is very security positive because many fewer details are maintained on scraps of paper and left to human mistakes," Christy said.

The deal also highlights VMware's growing strength in Israel, where it formally set up shop a few years ago. Since then, the company has amassed enough business to have 20 case studies of Israeli customers posted on its site.

Among those highlighted are the government-owned Israel Postal Company, which has modernized its data center using VMware products, as well as the municipality of Petach Tikva, a suburb of Tel Aviv that tapped the company's technology to consolidate its server resources and implement a private cloud.

VMware's Biber told Jewish Business News that the company's business in Israel has been growing at an annual rate of 40% to 50%.

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