According to the Department of Defence Chief Technology Officer, Matt Yannopoulos, the pilot program supports a major Defence ICT reform initiative and had “proven the technology is capable of meeting our needs and has offered learnings for implementation design."
The pilot program is being conducted at multiple Defence sites around Australia in order to show that the required functionality can be provided to the end users regardless of their location, and according to Thales Australia’s CEO, Chris Jenkins, the pilot has so far successfully demonstrated that a server based computing solution can deliver a stable, responsive desktop with all of the expected capabilities, including printing.
Yannopoulos said the pilot program was an essential part of a planned future rollout across Defence, and had already made significant gains in de-risking the project, validating the technical design, proving cost savings and enhancing the user experience.
Instead of multiple terminals for different networks, Chris Jenkins said users would benefit from de-cluttered workspaces with one computer, one keyboard, one screen and one mouse, enabling simultaneous access to the Defence Restricted Network and Defence Secret Network on the same screen.
Jenkins said that, in its full implementation, the Next Generation Desktop (NGD) pilot program would use thin client technology to replace traditional desktops, “which will substantially reduce hardware, power and sustainment costs for Defence, generating long term Strategic Reform Program savings.”
“This strategic project is a prime example of how new technologies can lead to impressive capability increases combined with genuine cost savings. Our team is collaborating very closely with the customer and our partners to deliver this pilot phase, which has already smoothed the way for the next stage of wider implementation. Over the years to come, NGD will enable cost savings in the millions of dollars, making this investment a worthy use of taxpayers’ money.”
According to Jenkins, Thales has also invested with Microsoft and Citrix, two of its three main partners in the project, in extensive testing conducted at Microsoft’s US facilities that has confirmed the core NGD design and provided real-world performance data. “In addition, a support team and help desk are up and running, providing assistance to Defence personnel as they become acquainted with the new technology.”
As well as Microsoft and Citrix, Raytheon Trusted Computer Solutions (RTCS) is also working with Thales to delivering and support the NGD pilot program for the Department of Defence.