VAST Federal and Mercury Systems Collaborate to Build Ruggedized Ceres Platform for Military and Defense Operations at the Edge

Leveraging VAST’s Universal Storage data platform and Ceres concept, Mercury will bring advanced data capture and AI computing capabilities to military edge operations

VAST Federal, a VAST Data subsidiary providing government agencies with mission-ready data platform solutions, announced a collaboration with Mercury Systems (NASDAQ: MRCY), a leader in trusted, secure mission-critical technologies for aerospace and defense, to deliver rugged, high-performance storage solutions for edge-based data capture and AI computing. Mercury’s upcoming rugged data storage systems will be based on Ceres, VAST Data’s next-generation storage platform concept, and will be purpose-built to meet the unique size, weight, and power (SWaP) requirements in the space-constrained platforms typical in land, sea, air, space and cyberspace deployments, where every inch and every ounce matters.

Mercury’s new data storage systems will improve performance and simplify serviceability at the edge by using advanced hardware technologies including NVIDIA Bluefield DPUs (data processing units), ruler-based hyper-scale flash drives, and storage-class memory. The addition of a ruggedized hardware enclosure allows VAST and its industry team members to satisfy the data flow demands of C5ISR (Command, Control, Computers, Communications, Cyber, Intelligence Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) to achieve ultimate situational awareness from Edge Environments to Ground Station to Centralized Command and Control. Universal Storage protects data throughout the entire C5ISR system so that commanders and their personnel can have reliable and secure access to the data that informs their mission. Additional details on the benefits of the rugged data solutions with Universal Storage will include:

High Performance for Mission-Critical Edge Workloads. With Universal Storage as the software foundation, systems deliver the ultimate in data center-class, exabyte-scale network-attached storage (NAS) for edge workloads, empowering military and security personnel to quickly capture and analyze data for a real-time response when faced with national security situations. The Universal Storage data platform is a PCIe Gen4 storage system that maximizes GPU utilization for inference at the edge, accelerating AI applications that run directly on field devices for faster decision making. Additionally, having data processed locally reduces the risk of data being intercepted while in transit to the cloud.

Ease of Serviceability While Maintaining System Uptime. Mercury is designing the system so that everything is front serviceable–ruler SSDs, NVIDIA BlueField DPUs, and SCM drives–and can easily be accessed when deployed in a plane, helicopter, submarine, or other space-constrained environments. Universal Storage software lays the foundation for a much more resilient architecture where failures and maintenance are non-disruptive to system operation.

Meets Defense Industry’s SWaP Requirements. Whether on land, at sea, in the air, or in space, the system hardware architecture will combine with VAST’s efficiency codes to meet the SWaP requirements of edge computing — packing petabytes of data into SWaP-constrained environments. The solution will also support DC power and will perform in extreme conditions, such as high altitude and humidity levels or environments with heavy vibrations.

Enhanced Data Protection for Fast Backup and Restore. To safeguard confidential data against all threats, edge computing systems must have built-in mechanisms to help prevent data losses and breaches, even in the most remote locations. Universal Storage delivers accelerated edge dataset backups with rapid recovery for mission-critical data and applications. The Indestructible Snapshots feature in VAST’s Universal Storage prevents critical backup copies and snapshots from being altered or destroyed when in a hostile environment.

“Our software-based approach allows us to team with best-of-breed technology providers like Mercury to reimagine the storage footprint for a variety of workloads at the edge, including sensor processing, AI, and data analytics,” said Randy Hayes, Vice President, Public Sector of VAST Data Federal. “This collaboration strengthens VAST’s commitment to place software at the heart of modern data infrastructure, and enables actionable insights from multiple field locations that can be sent back to Centralized Command and Control for deeper analysis and long-term data preservation.”

“Teaming with VAST Federal aligns well with our approach of rapidly integrating the latest-generation commercial technologies to future-proof A&D solutions and push server-class processing to the tactical edge,” said Dusty Kramer, Vice President and General Manager, Mercury Systems Edge business unit. “Mercury-VAST rugged data Universal Storage solutions combined with our ruggedized Intel® and GPU-based servers enable deployments in distributed, space-constrained locations with SWaP-enhanced efficiency while facilitating AI and data analytics compute power at the edge to ensure crew safety and provide advanced threat assessment.”

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