Migration - It's not just for the birds
February 1, 2008
ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill.--When you think of migration, what comes to mind' Birds flying south for the winter' Computers changing from one network to another'
As strange as it may sound, at Joint Munitions Command, as well as all of the Rock Island Arsenal, it is the latter.
Migration is the name given to the overall process of transformation of an Army computer network to another; to go from enclave, or individual, installation-centric network, to the larger Army "enterprise" or LandWarNet.
LandWarNet is the Army's contribution to the Department of Defense's Global Information Grid. Other components are the Navy's FORCEnet and the Air Force's C2 Constellation.
Here at the first continental U.S. installation to undergo this transformation, the effort is spearheaded by the Network Enterprise Technology Command, a direct reporting unit of the Army Chief Information Office. It is executed through the Directorate of Information Management, U.S. Army Garrison, Rock Island and for the JMC, the JMC Information Management Directorate.
"The way it is set up now, with each installation having its own local network, communication is difficult," said Tony Crossen, chief, Integration & Business Solutions, Information Management Directorate. "The Army area processing centers and Army intranet will provide seamless integration of information on demand to any user, anytime, anywhere and in a secure environment."
The APCs will reduce the number of Army points from more than 250 to about six across the CONUS. About 150 of these entry points belong to the Installation Management Command of which USAG-RIA is a subordinate.
"Currently, every installation has its own entry point," said Scott Hary, chief, Directorate of Information Management, USAG-RIA. "The new system will increase security by decreasing entry points because the more entry points, the more chance of penetration."
At endstate, there will be about six APCs within CONUS, according to Sally Cecil, chief, NETCOM, Northwest Region.
"Right now there are two APCs, one in Oklahoma City and the other in Columbus, Ohio. The Rock Island Arsenal and its tenants, including JMC, are serviced by the Oklahoma City location," said Cecil.
"As a tenant on the RIA, we have to comply with all the guidelines set by the DOIM and the APC," said Cheryl Rayburn, JMC information management specialist.
The capabilities of the APCs include perimeter security, secure servers, secure desktops, automated patching or updates, and secure remote access.
"The process started in 2001 when the Army began consolidating servers," said Doug Bengtson, information management specialist, team leader, Enterprise Technology, Information Management Directorate.
"We are the first CONUS installation to do this, so there is a learning curve," said Cecil. "Trying to get it right has been a challenge, but being the first gives us the opportunity to influence the process."
The process used is one designed by information technology engineers.
Bengtson said, "The RIA is the test case; therefore, we are the guinea pigs."
"Fort Riley, the second installation, will repeat the process used here, taking advantage of the lessons learned," said Cecil.
The migration to APCs is very precise. "In order for migration to happen, things must be done in a certain order," said Rayburn.
The migration process starts with system reimaging, or a reconfiguration of the existing hard drive on each individual computer, to assure a system free of viruses, vulnerabilities, and other operating problems. Next, the system is migrated, "flipped", from the current network to the Army enterprise. Then the email is migrated from the local or installation server to the APC server, according to Rayburn.
Bengtson said, referring to the temporary inconvenience employees have experienced while the migration is in process, "We are trying to make it as easy on the user as possible."
The entire process at RIA is expected to be finished in mid-2008. The schedule for the rest of the Army installations will be determined.