High-tech data centers "make the desert bloom" in Israel
Since Israel was founded in 1948, one of the small Middle Eastern nation’s most ambitious goals has been to “make the desert bloom." That is, produce agriculture and greenery in a region without much rainfall. The wheels for this process have been in motion since long before 1948, and today the northern and central regions of Israel along the Mediterranean coast are teeming with agriculture, high-tech industry, and economic growth. However, development there has far outpaced the Israeli South, which is comprised of a large, arid desert known as the Negev.
Meanwhile, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have faced a seemingly unrelated problem, but the solution could benefit both the military and the region as a whole. Until recently, the IDF has managed its data through scattered, older computing centers throughout Israel. The Israeli Ministry of Defense recognized this and in 2016, invited companies to bid on a broad array of work, from the construction and systems migration to the operation and maintenance of new data centers. This major tender created a once-in-a-decade opportunity for the IDF to modernize and upgrade its core capabilities, and solidified the ties between the Intelligence Division and the economic growth of its new home region, the Negev.
Since 2017, Leidos Israel has partnered with Israel Aerospace Industries and TSG IT Advanced Systems as the tender awardees to consolidate and transfer the computer infrastructure of the IDF to these centralized data centers. Leidos is enabling this project by setting up the necessary infrastructure, networks, information technology, and management systems, and will then stick around in a maintenance capacity. The newly created, more modern centers are being deployed in the Negev, enabling improved efficiency and reliability for the IDF while jumpstarting region’s economic development.
The largest of these data centers, known as Metzudat David or “Fortress of David,” recently became operational. Its high-level engineering design is built with two main goals in mind: continuous functionality, and flexibility for changes and updates. In a constantly changing intelligence environment, the IDF cannot afford unplanned system down time or static, "set it and forget it" systems. Metzudat David's combination of advanced hardware and modern, agile applications mean that technology will enable implementation and execution of the IDF's information strategy, rather than hold it back.
IDF Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi highlighted the new data centers' importance at the inauguration event for Metzudat David, “We intend to carry out two main missions in the Negev – one, to protect the South and the Negev, and the other…to help develop the South and the Negev.” Metzudat David and other data centers tackle the first mission head on, and the ripple effects could soon further the second mission. Cutting-edge technology is central to IDF operations, and with these data centers in place, the road is paved for their Intelligence Division to move south – spurring development as supporting industries follow. As Leidos continues to manage this technology, the team will have a front row seat from their headquarters in Be’er Sheva, capital of the Negev, as Israel makes the desert bloom.