Defense Connect Online doubles capacity for concurrent DOD users

By U.S. ArmyFebruary 25, 2013

WASHINGTON (Feb. 21, 2013) -- To meet increased demand for a DOD enterprise service known as Defense Connect Online or DCO, the Defense Information Systems Agency expedited a previously planned expansion and doubled capacity last week.

Demand for concurrent capacity on DCO, which provides a secure information exchange environment, grew by one-third in the last several months, according to Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) officials.

Since 2007, DCO has provided a cloud-based, enterprise solution for DOD users to share data and collaborate over the network. Currently, more than 800,000 DCO users are registered.

"A maximum capacity of 2,000 concurrent users in 2007 increased to 4,000 concurrent-user capacity by mid-February," said John Hale, DISA's chief of enterprise applications. "Under normal circumstances, that would be a good model. However, DCO capacity requirements have increased by 33 percent during the last 60 to 90 days--an unprecedented growth," he said.

"DCO's been the department's way of providing collaborative solutions for online meetings, document sharing, white-boarding and voice-over-internet-protocol (VOIP) capabilities, to include chat," said Alfred Rivera, DISA's director of enterprise services. DCO is also used for operational discussions and distance learning among other capabilities.

DCO allows DOD users and mission partners (e.g., other government agencies and nations, NATO) to collaborate on classified or unclassified networks. Users follow the common access card requirements for login. There is also an option for non-CAC holder guest participation.

In addition to doubling capacity, DISA is upgrading several systems within six to eight weeks. "This will allow us to add additional capacity beyond 8,000 in a streamlined fashion, as dictated by usage," Hale said.

"As users demand more and more instant capabilities, security is at the forefront of everything we do to ensure our nation's defense information is kept safe," Hale said. "The DCO solution was built with security in mind, and it leverages our current DOD private cloud as its native platform which provides for a secure environment."

DCO was DISA's first large endeavor as part of the agency's move to enterprise services, Rivera said. The Army is the first adopter of the newest DOD enterprise service, Defense Enterprise Email or DEE, with 1.5 million mailboxes moving to DEE.

Over 900,000 Army mailboxes are already on DEE, and 500,000 more will migrate in the next five months. Others who have moved to DEE include the Joint Staff, some combatant commands, and several military agencies.

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