NT is outpacing Unix as OS of choice for joint intelligence system

NT is outpacing Unix as OS of choice for joint intelligence system

By Bill Murray

GCN Staff

The largest national joint intelligence program began fielding applications for Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 last November, making it one of the first intelligence systems to migrate to the 32-bit operating system.

The program office seems to have a secure role, Navy Cmdr. Mark Greer said. But it's unclear what the future holds for the Joint Deployable Intelligence Support System software, because the 'need for maintaining separate workstation [operating systems] is lessening,'' particularly with the Defense Information Infrastructure's Common Operating Environment-compliant products available, said Greer, JDISS program manager.

DII COE has 'obviated the need for a pure, baseline, core operating system,' Greer said. The JDISS program office will continue to support the needs of intelligence users and will help segment government and commercial products, he said. 'The machine is a subset of the JDISS program.''

JDISS began as a Unix system for Digital Unix, Hewlett-Packard HP-UX and SunSoft Solaris, said Jeff Handy, a vice president of BTG Inc. of Fairfax, Va. 'The market drive, in terms of cost and demand, is going toward NT,'' he said.

'I haven't received any complaints from users'' about the standalone NT JDISS 3.0 version, Greer said. JDISS officials are beta-testing JDISS 3.3, a client-server NT version that will be used in operational deployments next month, he said.

Systems administration costs for NT are generally lower than those for Unix systems, he said.

But the JDISS program office continues to find important uses for Sun's operating system.

Beta testing begins next month for the JDISS Multi-Network Workstation, a Trusted Solaris 2.51 system that lets users keep open windows on the same workstation from domains with different classification levels, such as NATO and a secret network, Greer said.

Operational release will likely occur in October, after Defense Intelligence Agency officials complete their accreditation testing, he said.

The JDISS program office recently stopped developing software for Digital Unix, and they will also soon cease working with HP-UX.

Fewer Unix versions

'Navy Afloat was the only HP customer,'' Greer said, and it will use the Global Command and Control System-Maritime and the JDISS NT version, he said. There may be one or two JDISS HP-UX users on each ship who will run applications that are not ported to NT or GCCS-M, he said.

JDISS software provides a set of tools for analysis, and BTG has provided engineering and software support at the JDISS program office, as well as help desk and operational support for users.

The Office of Naval Intelligence manages JDISS, and the budget for JDISS and Linked Operations Intelligence Centers'Europe was $13 million for fiscal 1999.

There are 5,500 JDISS licenses, with about 800 of them NT users, Greer said. He predicted an accelerated JDISS use of NT, with a projected 50 percent of 8,000 JDISS users running NT within two years.

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