Navy finds a more efficient mail call
- By Dan Carney
- Dec 09, 2001
Lotus Development Corp.'s Domino is helping the Navy streamline electronic
communications with the ships of the Atlantic and Pacific fleets.
Ship communications are always limited by the narrow-bandwidth satellite
link used to connect to land-based servers.
"A ship at sea has the same bandwidth the average user has at home on
the Internet," said Sam Katz, information technology director for the Atlantic
Fleet. On the ship, though, "up to 100 people may share that connection."
The solution was server replication with Domino Release 5, which employs
mirrored servers on land and on board ships. "It had to replicate via satellite
channels, which was the biggest technical issue," said Lt. Cmdr. Michael
Houston of the Navy's Network-Centric Innovation Center in San Diego. "It
also had to be automatic, with no operator intervention."
The system minimizes calls to the shore server by maintaining information
on board. For example, the Admiral's Brief, a daily document on operations,
is understandably popular with the crew.
By writing one copy on the shipboard server, multiple requests for the
document create no additional traffic on the satellite circuit. "On our
old system, if five people on board wanted access to the Admiral's Brief,
they'd all have to make calls to the shore server and tie up our bandwidth,"
That reduced traffic leaves more bandwidth for personal communications,
which improves morale. "From a quality-of-life perspective, putting technology
like Domino on the ships is the best thing we've done in the last 100 years,"
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