The Navy needs new servers for its upgraded Aegis Combat System after the current IBM line was sold to Chinese computer maker Lenovo.
The $2.1 billion sale closed in October and made Lenovo the number three server maker in the world.
IBM shedding its server business creates a security concern for the U.S. Navy, which included the company’s x86 BladeCenter HT server in its Aegis Technical Insertion (TI) 12. The TI-12 hardware upgrades, along with Advanced Capability Build (ACB) 12 software upgrades, compose the Aegis Baseline 9 combat system upgrade that combines a ballistic missile defense capability with anti-air warfare (AAW) improvements for the Navy’s guided missile cruiser and destroyer fleets.
“The Department of Homeland Defense identified security concerns with the IBM Blade Center sale and placed restrictions on federal government procurement of Lenovo Blade Center server products,” a Navy spokesman told USNI News.
The major military concern is the servers could be compromised through routine maintenance or the information could be accessed remotely by Chinese government agents, The Wall Street Journal reported last year.
The Program Executive Office for Integrated Warfare Systems’ Aegis program office “is evaluating alternate processing solutions to mitigate the impact of the IBM Blade Center sale” in conjunction with the Department of Defense Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States Mitigation Development and Compliance Monitoring Team.
“We do not expect any significant Aegis schedule or cost impacts,” the Navy spokesman added.
Aegis Combat System manufacturer Lockheed Martin is participating in the effort to identify a replacement, company spokeswoman Rashi Ratan told USNI News.
“Options do exist; however, it is a matter of matching specified requirements to available technologies, conducting environmental qualifications and integration testing of those options, in conjunction with the Navy, to ultimately select an appropriate course of action,” she said.
U.S. companies, including Hewlett Packard, Dell and Cisco, make servers the service could use to replace the IBM products.