New DOD database to speed investigations

Officials of the Defense Investigative Service (DIS), the arm of the Defense Department that conducts all security investigations of DOD civilians and contractors, face a staggering data processing dilemma:

Feb 1st, 1997

Officials of the Defense Investigative Service (DIS), the arm of the Defense Department that conducts all security investigations of DOD civilians and contractors, face a staggering data processing dilemma:

To meet DOD demands to reduce the time needed for investigations, they must increase their current database on disk from 100 gigabytes to 2.6 terabytes by the end of the century. At the same time, like all other federal agencies, DIS leaders will begin laying off personnel early this year.

The semi-automated legacy systems involving mainframes and hard copy output wouldn`t do the job, says Irvin Becker, director of DIS`s National Computing Center. "We needed to migrate to something that reflects the business needs of the agency while supporting the federal agencies that require our services," he says.

And not just any system, Becker adds. "We didn`t just go out for a system that could operate at mainframe speed. We knew exactly what we would need and we asked a number of companies to furnish equipment that could handle it."

For the hardware portion of the job, DIS experts selected Digital Equipment Corp. of Maynard, Mass., which will deliver its 8400 5/300 Turbo Laser computer 64-bit symmetric multiprocessing enterprise server built on Digital UNIX full-function 64-bit UNIX operating system. Working with Oracle Corp. of Redwood Shores, Calif., and its Oracle 7 very large memory database product that is optimized for 64-bit computing, Digital engineers were able to meet DIS`s performance benchmarks and user loads.

DIS officials have been keeping their files on microfiche since they began operation in 1972 and in 1994 began preparing for a paperless environment by feeding in the data electronically from personal computers. The new system is to support 3,000 users, 300 of them at any one time, via a primary local area network consisting of FDDI using the TCP/IP communications protocols.

DIS is projecting a $900 million cost avoidance over the next five years once the modernization is completed later this year. - J.R.

For more information, phone Digital Equipment Corp. at 508-493-5111.

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