Tracewell's Rugged Blade System Delivers High-Performance Computing in Harsh Environments During Empire Challenge 10

Empire Challenge Report Affirms Rugged Blade System as First Solution Answering Need for Commercial Off-the-Shelf Hardware for U.S. Department of Defense Applications Based on IBM Blade Technology

COLUMBUS, Ohio - October 27, 2010 - According to a report issued today, evidence from evaluation exercises conducted during Empire Challenge 10 (EC 10), affirms Tracewell Systems new Rugged Blade System's ability to perform in harsh environments; offering a solution to the U.S. Department of Defense's need for highly ruggedized and configurable data centers to manage the military's demand for high-performance computing. The evaluation exercises were led by the Space and Naval Warfare (SPAWAR) Systems Center Atlantic (SSC-LANT).

Held at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., EC 10 is a multinational intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) demonstration designed to showcase the role of technology in improving military strategy, interagency coordination and military decision making. According to the after-action EC 10 report, "Throughout the exercise, the RBS performed to specification, even when subjected to high temperatures due to a lack of air conditioning (A/C). " The report concluded, "The Tracewell RBS chassis and IBM blades, despite high temperatures and less than optimal work conditions, provided a high level of service."

The Rugged Blade System meets a wide range of stringent MIL-SPEC requirements set forth by the U.S. Department of Defense, providing improved performance for forward deployment of COTS servers used in critical military applications.

"The collection, storage and analysis of a wide range of data have become mission critical for Department of Defense agencies," said Matt Tracewell, executive vice president of Tracewell Systems. "The Rugged Blade System is the first product available on the market that combines performance, cost and flexibility of commercial off-the-shelf high-performance blade server technology in a form factor specifically designed to meet MIL-SPEC standards for forward deployment. As a result, for the first time, it is now possible to forward deploy the same flexible IBM based blade server technology as found in today's most technologically advanced data centers."

Based on IBM's commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) blade server technology in a form-factor engineered package designed for MIL-SPEC requirements, Tracewell's Rugged Blade System addresses the Department of Defense's core technology challenges - namely:

 Consistent performance
o The Rugged Blade System maintains improved performance, even in harsh conditions marked by extreme temperatures, shock and vibration, electromagnetic interference (EMI) and more stringent power requirements.
o The Rugged Blade System's tolerance for the shock and vibration commonly experienced in deployed applications is coupled with high capacity cooling, adapting well to land, air, and sea environments.

 Flexibility
o When compared to other solutions, use of COTS blade technology and form-factor engineering can reduce procurement costs by up to 90 percent while increasing high-performance computing capabilities by as much as 1,000 percent.
o The Rugged Blade System is designed to deploy COTS blade technology, which means blades can be swapped "on-the-fly" as technology platform requirements evolve. This can reduce maintenance, upgrade and refresh costs by as much as 75 percent.

 Consolidation
o Tracewell's Rugged Blade System can house a mix of blade servers in a single chassis, eliminating redundancy of components by enabling multiple operating systems to run on a single platform.
o The end result is a single, lightweight, high-performance package that uses fewer cases and cables for deployment than traditional COTS data center solutions.

"Department of Defense agencies have made significant investments in commercial off-the-shelf solutions based on IBM technology to meet their traditional IT requirements," said Tracewell. "Tracewell is bringing critical hardware platforms from the back office to forward deployed environments. Users of the Rugged Blade System can have high performance computing, ruggedized and ready for immediate deployment. For the first time ever, it is now possible for Department of Defense agencies to invest in the Tracewell Rugged Blade System for deployment in the air, on land and at sea."

Additional Resources:
Additional information on Tracewell Systems' Rugged Blade System can be found at http://www.tracewell.com/rbs.