The New York Times (27 November 2011) has an interesting article under “bright ideas” called Turn on the Server. It’s Cold Outside.
Setting standards help us to reduce complexity, contain costs, build interoperability, and secure the enterprise.
The Air Force is leading the way in setting standard configurations for the Federal government for computers, servers, printers, and cell phones.
Government Computer News, 4 August 2008, reports that “The Air Force started taking delivery in July on the first of 150,000 new PCs…the first to come equipped with their Windows Vista operating systems, including Internet Explorer 7, preset to meet Federal Desktop Core Configuration (FDCC) 2.1 standards.”
The FDCC is an outgrowth of the Air Force’s IT Commodity Council (ITCC) “efforts with Microsoft in 2006 to test and develop a standard software configuration.” This was coordinated with NIST, NSA, and DISA, and other agencies. Further, OMB “required agencies to implement FDCC’s Windows XP and Vista standards by Feb, 1, 2008.”
Now ITCC is working with DISA, NSA, Army, Navy, Marine, and Coast Guard to build Server configurations. Microsoft is taking these base configurations and “will develop configurations for ‘roles placed on top,’ says Michael Harper, Microsoft Service Director.
“Those will include the file and print servers, the domain controller, Exchange, SQL server, SharePoint, Web, and Windows deployment services.”
FDCC is “forcing the software industry to pay greater attention to the default settings of its products”. This is helping to reduce security vulnerabilities, and reducing costs.
Some examples of reducing costs and achieving other benefits from FDCC include:
- “Preinstalling software at the factory rather than retrofitting a machine.”
- Reducing energy costs by “preconfiguring Vista’s energy management settings.”
- Steamlining the number of…device categories.”
- “Standardizing…software…makes it easier to manage network and document security.”
FDCC has been so successful that ITCC is now moving forward with doing the same standardization for mobile devices.
FDCC is a step forward in terms of inter-agency collaboration, working with the vendor community, and creating an enterprise architecture that hits the mark for improved IT planning and governance.