Army given funding for backup portal

Army officials are developing an action plan for a backup of the Army Knowledge Online portal after the service was promised funding late last month for a 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 provides Army news, distance-learning opportunities, e-mail accounts, a search engine and a chat room. By July, officials plan to use it for most of the service's internal business.

Coxe said in April that it would cost more than $100 million to establish a mirror site, largely because of storage and infrastructure costs. But he said Army officials are pleased to be getting any funding and will now amend their original plan, which called for doing "everything at once," and instead will "do the basics and scale it later to make it more robust."

"We are re-looking at all of our options to ensure that we maximize every dollar — and then some," Coxe said. "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 Army secretary, who said he would fund it. "The question is when," Coxe said late last month at the Army IT Day in McLean, Va.

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