Army planning for portal backup

The Army is putting together an action plan for a backup of its Army Knowledge Online portal after it was promised funding late last month for the mirror site to keep the portal online if the primary server fails.

Lt. Gen. Peter Cuviello, the service's chief information officer, was promised about half of the requested $100 million for the backup site after a May 29 meeting at the Pentagon, according to Col. Robert Coxe, the Army's chief technology officer.

The AKO portal 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.

Coxe told Federal Computer Week in April that it would cost more than $100 million to establish a redundant mirror site, largely because of storage and infrastructure costs. But he said the service is pleased to be getting any funding and will now amend its original plan, which called for doing "everything at once," and instead will "do the basics and scale it latter to make it more robust."

"We are relooking all of our options to ensure that we maximize every dollar — and then some," Coxe told FCW in an e-mail last week. "We are in the process of putting together the requirements/action plan for a cold failover site using the dollars provided. We are moving out smartly."

Before learning of the funding, Coxe said he had secured 54 terabytes of storage for the site and was 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 at last week's Army IT Day in McLean, Va.

The funding couldn't come at a better time for AKO, which established its millionth account in late May 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 said.

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

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