DISA buys $3M in licenses from Transarc and TriTeal

The Defense Information Systems Agency has purchased nearly $3 million in software licenses that it will distribute at no cost to Defense program managers developing command and control systems that comply with the agency's requirements for commercial software components.

As part of its effort to boost support for the Defense Information Infrastructure's (DII) Common Operating Environment (COE), DISA has bought 10,000 licenses of TriTeal Corp.'s Enterprise Desktop (TED) and almost 8,000 licenses of Transarc Corp.'s Distributed Computing Environment (DCE) software.

TED and DCE are two of about a dozen products that DISA has certified as compliant with COE. DISA made both purchases through the Integrated Computer-Aided Software Engineering (I-CASE) contract, held by Logicon Inc., which now carries most of the major COE products.

People familiar with the program said more such deals—for any of the COE-compliant products—are likely to follow. "I don't think anyone at DISA is viewing this first purchase of TriTeal and Transarc as one-time deals," said Vince Steckler, manager of I-CASE marketing and sales at Logicon.

A DISA spokeswoman confirmed the two purchases.

Both products are designed to allow users to work more easily in the heterogeneous command and control environment.

TriTeal's TED is the best-known product that supports the Common Desktop Environment, an industry-standard graphical user interface and operating environment for the Unix platform. Unix vendors defined CDE, which DISA has adopted, to let users go from one Unix platform to another without learning a new interface.

TriTeal provides developers with application programming interfaces so they can retrofit older applications for CDE, said Bob Ruhe, vice president of TriTeal's federal systems group. "All the legacy applications can be written to DII COE using TED and bring new life to them," Ruhe said.TriTeal has committed a team of people to work with the DII COE program office, he added.

Transarc's DCE Specs

Transarc's DCE is based on the DCE standard defined by the Open Software Foundation, an industry consortium. DCE defines a common set of services—including security, distributed file services and remote procedure calls—for which developers can write applications.

Transarc offers DCE software designed to run on platforms from multiple Unix vendors as well as system software from Microsoft Corp. "It provides total independence from the hardware, operating system, databases and the network," said John Ryan, DOD/intelligence program manager for Transarc's federal office in Falls Church, Va.

Including DCE in COE will make it easier for Defense agencies to port applications from one operating system to another as their needs change, according to Ryan. "It's really going to get them out of this phase of rearchitecting applications every time they go to a new [platform]."

Additionally, DCE makes it easier for integrators working in the command and control environment to develop applications on one platform to be deployed on another, Ryan said.

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