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IBM enlisted for defense role

Uncle Sam is calling on IBM to help prevent enemy missiles from ever reaching U.S. soil.

IBM plans to announce Monday that it has won a deal to supply the Defense Department with 66 high-end p690 "Regatta" Unix servers to be used as part of the country's ground-based missile defense program.

About 20 of the servers will go to Boeing, which is managing the testing and simulation part of the missile defense program, while the remainder will be used by TRW, which is handling the command and control part.

Instrumental to the deal was certifying that AIX, IBM's version of Unix, complied with a Defense Department program that puts a common user interface across many different types of Unix-based systems. The effort to move to a so-called Common Operating Environment, which began in the mid-1990s, is aimed at saving millions of dollars in training costs.

IBM said it had already decided last year to do the work necessary to qualify AIX for the common interface, said Greg Lefelar, federal manager for IBM's eServer unit.

Because of the amount of testing and documentation involved, it cost IBM more than $1.5 million and took more than a year to get qualified, but having done so could mean even more business down the road, Lefelar said.

News source: Cnet

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