Accessing, processing, and sharing data at the tactical edge has become increasingly essential to mission success – whether the mission is a large-scale military operation, crisis response effort, or coordinating the transportation of critical supplies and troops. The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) relies on modern military applications that are data-heavy and depend on low latency to enable critical communications and coordination in the field. However, accessing the cloud capabilities needed to support large-scale data demands and quick decision-making in remote environments is challenging. Traditionally, this has meant spending time and resources figuring out how to help or build data center infrastructure at the tactical edge while grappling with unreliable network connectivity.
To address this challenge, Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced the AWS Modular Data Center (AWS MDC) today. This new service allows DoD customers to deploy compute and storage capabilities to support large-scale workloads wherever they need it, including in Disconnected, Disrupted, Intermittent, or Limited (DDIL) environments. Instead of relying on limited data center infrastructure or building from the ground up, AWS MDC delivers a cost-effective, self-contained modular data center solution that supports customers’ data center scale workloads. With AWS MDC, defense customers can securely store, analyze, and interpret petabytes of data in real-time to gain military advantage in the most isolated environments.
AWS MDC comes pre-configured with high-availability data center infrastructure, including internal networking, cooling, and power distribution equipment. To deploy compute and storage capabilities, AWS MDC supports AWS Outposts or AWS Snowball Edge devices and can be scaled by deploying additional modular data center units to support customer requirements. With AWS MDC, customers can use AWS services and APIs to run low-latency applications from anywhere. The AWS MDC is a self-contained solution and only needs to be connected to power once deployed to the customer site and networking if using AWS Outposts. When networking is limited or unavailable, like in DDIL environments, AWS MDC racked with Snow Family devices allows customers to run workloads using a scoped subset of AWS services, even when disconnected. Customers also have the option to use satellite communications for network connectivity. Further, AWS MDC comes with a management system for customers to monitor and operate the MDC’s subsystems proactively.
“As the digital battlefield continues to evolve, our defense customers increasingly need access to cloud capabilities at the tactical edge, including DDIL environments all over the world,” said Liz Martin, director of the Defense business at AWS. “With AWS Modular Data Center, we are converting data centers from fixed infrastructure difficult to build and manage in remote environments to a comprehensive service that is simple to use, secure, cost-effective, and can respond to large-scale compute and storage needs wherever the mission demands.”
Each modular data center unit is constructed using ruggedized containers designed and built for intermodal freight transport, which can be used across different modes of transportation from the ship to rail to truck. The AWS MDC units are also air-transportable using military cargo aircraft.