Army portal at million mark

The Army Knowledge Online portal reached a major milestone within the past week when its millionth account was set up. However, the program still lacks the funding for a "mirror" site to keep the portal online if the primary server fails, according to the service's chief technology officer.

Speaking May 29 at Army IT Day in McLean, Va., Col. Robert Coxe, Army CTO, said that the millionth AKO account was established with little fanfare. About a year ago, No. 200,000 was sent a T-shirt and a congratulatory note, but the person did not reply.

Coxe's greater concern is securing funding for a backup site for the AKO portal, which offers Army news, distance-learning opportunities, lifetime e-mail accounts, a search engine and a chat room. By July, it is supposed to be used for most of the service's internal business.

It will cost more than $100 million to establish a redundant mirror site, and that's largely because of storage and infrastructure costs, Coxe told Federal Computer Week in April, adding that an implementation plan to establish the backup site at an undisclosed, secure location is ready to go as soon as the dollars are available.

Coxe said he has now secured 54 terabytes of storage for the site, and is just "waiting for the servers." He added that he has spoken with the secretary of the Army, who said he would fund it. "The question is, when?" Coxe said.

Army IT Day was sponsored by the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association's Northern Virginia chapter and the Signal Corps Regimental Association Greater Washington D.C.-Albert J. Myer chapter.

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