Hanscom cyber initiatives: ISN/IPN Pathfinder program moves to consolidate data centers

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- The Air Force plans to consolidate server farms and data centers into a single facility at every base across the globe.

Known as an Installation Service Node/Installation Processing Node, or ISN/IPN, the centralized location will offer a shared computing and storage infrastructure to host core services and mission and functional applications.

Last month, the C3I Infrastructure Division at Hanscom AFB awarded the ISN/IPN Pathfinder contract to Agile Defense. The Pathfinder project will modernize the existing non-secure internet protocol router network core service infrastructure at up to 10 bases and establish a central Infrastructure Management Center to remotely operate, manage and maintain the on-base ISN/IPN hosting environment.

"We are taking the first steps in consolidating and standardizing data centers at the base level," said Beth Rogers, ISN/IPN program manager. "As a pathfinder program, we'll take the lessons learned from this effort and apply them to the Air Force enterprise to include our secure network."

The intent is for IPNs to host Air Force core service applications and functional and mission applications required to provide the minimum basic functionality to an installation, should it become disconnected from the DoD Information Network.

"IPNs will provide the capability for a disconnected base to continue operations and meet mission requirements," said Rogers.

In addition to providing bases with continued operations, there are other benefits to IPNs.

According to Rogers, there are a significant number of servers across the Air Force. By consolidating, the new hosting environment will eliminate redundancy, maximizing the IT infrastructure and allow the Air Force to accumulate a significant cost savings in future years.

"Based on our discovery efforts, we have already identified several areas that could garner huge savings for the Air Force," said Lt. Col. Brad Panton, Base Infrastructure Branch materiel leader. "We are projecting those savings will be to the tune of $156 million across the Future Year Defense Program."

In conjunction with minimizing required hardware and software support, having a single hosting location will reduce costs in power and cooling.

The ISN/IPN Pathfinder program also serves as a trailblazer by altering the existing infrastructure's management model.

"The IPN effort will lay the foundation for the rest of the Air Force as we pivot from a government-owned, government-operated infrastructure to a government-owned, contractor-operated model," Panton said. "This will be a great learning experience for us and is a wonderful opportunity for us to gain best practices from our industry partners for the betterment of the Air Force."

With contractors serving in IT infrastructure management roles, Air Force personnel can focus on core mission tasks, which also relieves local communication squadrons from infrastructure touch maintenance.

"We are excited to be part of the movement as we tackle revamping the entire Air Force data center infrastructure," said Rogers.