NMCI helps pare legacy systems

EDS legacy information page

Electronic pinball games and versions of WordStar, the Reagan-era word processing program, are currently some of the biggest hurdles facing the Navy as it works to implement the Navy Marine Corps Intranet.

These so-called legacy applications have been an incredible "bugaboo" for NMCI largely because of the mounting number of them, said Capt. Chris Christopher, Navy Department deputy program executive officer for information technology.

Navy officials said the shift to a new network is an opportunity to clean house. Capt. David Aland, the Navy's deputy chief information officer, compared it to moving: One doesn't take everything from the old house, but one sorts through the stuff one needs and gets rid of the rest.

Most of the older applications will be replaced by NMCI's standardized suite of 22 applications. Others will undergo security testing and, if approved, will move to the Navy's new enterprise network operated by Electronic Data Systems Corp.

The sheer number of legacy systems as of Aug. 24, 25 sites had reported more than 15,000 systems to EDS would bog down the new network. Furthermore, the continued use of multiple programs would undermine one of the key advantages of an enterprise network: using a standard suite of interoperable applications across the organization.

The Navy has not set specific targets because the decision about which legacy applications stay or go is made on a site-by-site basis, Aland said. The sites that have gone through the process so far, however, have cut between 30 percent and 80 percent of their systems, he said.

Commander, Naval Reserve Force, for example, managed to cut 2,500 applications down to some 300, an almost 90 percent reduction. Allie Lawaetz, an NMCI program executive with EDS subcontractor Science Applications International Corp., said the site is still going over its list. Meanwhile, the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command headquarters started with 3,800 applications and has 1,800 applications today.

Some of this work was done to prepare for the Year 2000 date change, but Christopher said the focus then was merely on whether systems were mission-critical and whether they would work. The focus of the NMCI effort has been on whether the applications are necessary and secure, or whether the functionality is replaced by NMCI's standard software suite.

And all that takes time. For the handful of sites that have undergone the process so far, Aland said it has taken eight or nine months to fully inven.tory and validate the applications. "It was taking too long because we weren't starting early enough," Aland said.

Vice Adm. Richard Mayo, the Navy CIO, wants to halve that. He issued a memo instructing sites to start early at least four months before EDS is scheduled to take over the network at a site.


Schedule on legacies

The Navy wants sites to deal with legacy systems across a period of

four months.

* Each site must complete a systems inventory 120 days before Electronic

Data Systems Corp. assumes responsibility for the network at that site.

* Sixty days before rollover, sites must complete lists of all applications

required to run on the NMCI network and must turn over 50 percent of government-

created applications to EDS.

* Forty-five days before rollover, 75 percent of all applications to run

on the NMCI network must be turned over to EDS.

* Thirty days before rollover, all remaining applications must be submitted

for certification.

About the Author

Christopher J. Dorobek is the co-anchor of Federal News Radio’s afternoon drive program, The Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, and the founder, publisher and editor of the DorobekInsider.com, a leading blog for the Federal IT community.

Dorobek joined Federal News Radio in 2008 with 16 years of experience covering government issues with an emphasis on government information technology. Prior to joining Federal News Radio, Dorobek was editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week, the leading news magazine for government IT decision-makers and the flagship of the 1105 Government Information Group portfolio of publications. As editor-in-chief, Dorobek served as a member of the senior leadership team at 1105 Government Information Group, providing daily editorial direction and management for FCW magazine, FCW.com, Government Health IT and its other editorial products.

Dorobek joined FCW in 2001 as a senior reporter and assumed increasing responsibilities, becoming managing editor and executive editor before being named editor-in-chief in 2006. Prior to joining FCW, Dorobek was a technology reporter at PlanetGov.com, one of the first online community centers for current and former government employees. He also spent five years at Government Computer News, another leading industry publication, covering a variety of federal IT-related issues.

Dorobek is a frequent speaker on issues involving the government IT industry, and has appeared as a frequent contributor to NewsChannel 8’s Federal News Today program. He began his career as a reporter at the Foster’s Daily Democrat, a daily newspaper in Dover, N.H. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California. He lives in Washington, DC.


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