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Daisie Register September 22 2020 2 min read

GEF: The Fabric of Your Application Delivery

Part of maintaining the warfighter’s position of strength is keeping them digitally connected.  This requires constant delivery of new applications and features yet, rolling out digital applications requires training, procuring, installing, configuring and maintaining hardware to support these modern applications.  This traditional, hardware-centric model slows down the transformation process at Army installations around the world.

Not only can it be a heavy lift to get the infrastructure to support this evolving transformation up and running, it can also result in lack of uniformity between locations. Systems without standardization are not easily able to talk to one another when cross-enterprise collaboration was needed.   For example, if a group in Virginia had to mobilize to provide disaster relief in Texas and needed access to their identity management systems, the teams in Virginia and Texas would have to coordinate to:

  1. Get permission to host the Virginia system in Texas
  2. Compare what technologies were in use in each location for compatibilities
  3. Re-configure the Virginia systems to work with the hardware in Texas

The Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM) knew there had to be a better way to use their massive buying power to create a standardized environment that would both speed time to market for critical digital solutions and enable much-needed Army-wide collaboration. This is how the Global Enterprise Fabric (GEF) was born.

GEF is a platform that streamlines the deployment of applications across the Army. Through a consolidated contract at Ft. Huachuca, Army organizations can buy into the platform via a secure infrastructure-as-a-service agreement. With this infrastructure, the pieces are in place to allow users to immediately begin hosting new applications. The GEF infrastructure is powered by FlexPod architecture from NetApp. This validated design provides compute, storage and network resources in various configurations that support varied Army requirements.

“There are a lot of technologies involved in the GEF, but that does not translate to complexity for the user, that’s for us to figure out,” commented Bill McArthur, Sr. Account Manager, Iron Bow.

The validation and standardization in the design means applications can easily be moved for use at other locations with just a couple of clicks for seamless multi-theater support.

GEF reduces:

  • IT footprint (meeting data center consolidation and cloud goals)
  • Configuration requirements
  • Time to deployment for applications and services
  • IT management requirements
  • Total costs to the enterprise

GEF users no longer have to dedicate resources to routine maintenance such as patches. All of this work can be automated through NETCOM. Instead, IT resources can be focused on mission-facing application development, spending their time on app development rather than hardware and infrastructure configuration.

Iron Bow and NetApp are proud to work hand in hand on the installation and deployment of the GEF through six rounds of deployment updates. The pace is not slowing down with the Army continually improving the platform.

“This has been a rewarding project to work on as we’ve been constantly evolving to incorporate new technologies and capabilities to really get in front of Army use and mission requirements,” said Bradley Agnew, Army Account Manager, NetApp.


For more information on GEF, visit our site.