My original blog posting on Windows for Submarines seems to have caused a bit of a stramash in the blogsphere. The comments vary from Victor Meldrew ‘I don’t believe it’ incredulity about the potential for the blue screen of death (that’s the way the commentators put it, not me) to the recognition that it makes sense to use commercial off-the-shelf software where it is fit for purpose and cost-effective.
As I indicated in the original blog posting, Windows for Submarines is one of many project areas where the UK MOD has the opportunity to input to the features and functionality of Microsoft products through close interaction with the relevant product development teams.
Another relatively recent example is the collaborative work between the MOD and Microsoft to improve the communications efficiency and reliability of Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista via satellite communications from locations where troops are deployed. These are typically remote locations such as Iraq and Afghanistan where ‘normal’ networking infrastructure simply does not exist or is woefully inadequate and the only reliable network is satellite-based. All applications need to operate efficiently to minimise the risk of slowing down performance and also helping to reduce satellite transmission costs.
So contrary to the commentators who refer to the Royal Navy and BAE Systems working with Microsoft as ‘welcome to the dark side’, I hope this update helps to clarify that Windows for Submarines is not a one-off but part of a coherent and long-term programme of joint-engagement between Microsoft and strategic Public Sector customers such as the UK MOD.
Posted by Ian