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DevOps / Software Development

DoD Software Factories Take Charge of Their Digital Destinies

Software factories across the U.S. Department of Defense illustrate what's possible in developing applications and services across multiple clouds.
Apr 24th, 2023 1:23pm by
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The move to multicloud is changing the way modern software applications are designed and built. Kubernetes clusters, enabled by the VMware Tanzu application platform, have become a core component of modern software applications.

VMware customers are leveraging Tanzu to run some of the most mission-critical cloud native applications in the world, including applications used by government agencies that are essential to national security. The battlefields of tomorrow are digital domains, which means the tools essential to a country’s national defense have to be both physical and virtual.

That vision gained significant momentum in December when the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) announced a $9-billion investment in a multicloud infrastructure across all domains and classification levels.

Even before this major move to multicloud, VMware’s Tanzu Labs had already been at work assisting DOD in building its digital defense capabilities by going cloud native, engaging in workforce reskilling and developing software.

VMware Tanzu Labs partners with organizations worldwide to accelerate the delivery of software and modernize legacy apps. Tanzu Labs reduces operating costs and risk, working side by side with customers to build capabilities, transfer skills and knowledge, and instill a process that shows immediate and lasting impact. In a short time, Tanzu Labs has made an immediate and lasting impact on DOD’s efforts to use all its tools, virtual and physical, to protect the United States’ interests.

That impact began seven years ago. In response to the growing potential of digital confrontations with adversaries, Tanzu Labs sought to work with DOD to improve speed and agility in software development, starting with increasing the digital proficiency of U.S soldiers and service personnel. With no existing footprint of tools, practices or personnel, DOD and Tanzu Labs were starting from scratch when they first stood up a VMware-enabled software factory within the U.S. Air Force, and did it in only 120 days.

Today, the U.S. Air Force Software Factory is self-sustaining, employing more than 1,200 people who build mission-critical systems that will increasingly leverage a multicloud strategy. The DOD has followed suit by standing up additional software factories within the U.S. Space Force and the U.S. Army.

Tanzu’s methods of enablement helped create a learning environment within the factories that provides foundational knowledge to soldiers, airmen, sailors, guardians and government civilians. The mission objective is self-sustaining factories that can continuously deliver enterprise-grade software into the hands of constituents.

Executing on the Mission: The Army Software Factory

When it was stood up in 2021, the Army software factory established several key objectives, including increasing overall digital proficiency throughout the Army; enabling Army soldiers to effectively defend and fight in an increasingly data-centric battlefield; solving real and virtual Army problems by leveraging agile development security operations in multicloud technology and cybersecurity; and harnessing the culture of the U.S. innovation economy through close collaboration with tech entrepreneurs and academics.

Since then, the Army software factory has worked with Tanzu Labs to train more than 100 Army soldiers and civilians in the art of modern cloud native development practices, skills and culture to prepare for defending and warfighting across real and digital battlefields. This training will have long-term benefits for the U.S. Army, helping to maximize the long-term scalability and sustainability of modern software development and delivery.

Building on VMware Tanzu’s Work with DOD

DOD’s software factories are just scratching the surface when it comes to cloud native application development and the future of virtual national defenses. With its multicloud strategy very much in the initial stages of development, DOD is building and deploying more modern applications every year.

Modernizing legacy systems as part of DOD’s move to multicloud is a national security imperative. Through its partnership with Tanzu Labs, DOD is poised to succeed by continuing to invest in software factories that build, secure and deploy cloud native applications for its national defense and warfighting capabilities. It’s a model that is also drawing the attention of other U.S. government agencies that are similarly embracing multicloud environments.

Since we announced our intent to acquire VMware last year, customers have expressed their excitement about VMware’s momentum around cloud native software applications in its Tanzu business. Tanzu is a central part of VMware’s software portfolio and its multicloud strategy, and it will remain that way after Broadcom’s acquisition of VMware closes.

The future of enterprise IT is multicloud — the ability to distribute applications and services across a combination of clouds. A combined Broadcom-VMware will empower customers, including federal government agencies, to modernize and design their IT infrastructure with large-scale, secure and reliable, yet flexible, solutions.

Upon the close of Broadcom’s acquisition of VMware, we will remain committed to this partnership with DOD, and we look forward to building similar mission-critical collaborations across the U.S. government.

For more information about Broadcom’s innovations, visit broadcom.com/hock-blog.

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