NMCI tests a virtual environment

The Navy-Marine Corps Intranet program office is exploring a variety of new initiatives this year'from rolling out a virtual NMCI portal to researching the prospects of Navywide application hosting in secure data centers.

Capt. Chris Christopher, deputy NMCI director for future operations, communications and business initiatives, said the office wants to test the portal in a simulated environment once lead contractor EDS Corp. cuts over 85 percent of the 365,000 Navy and Marine Corps computer seats.

EDS has taken control of 149,398 computer seats, with the bulk of that number representing Navy users, Christopher said, and is expected to reach 85 percent by year's end.

"We're actually out building a virtual NMCI, a simulated environment that will mirror the actual network so that we have a high degree of fidelity to the real NMCI environment, and it's better than stressing our real environment," Christopher said.

He said the program office also is planning to lay the groundwork for Web hosting, perhaps by issuing a request for information or a request for proposals later this year to compete the work.

"We're taking the same approach to app hosting that we took to NMCI'that is, instead of everyone owning and operating their own stuff, we're going to put all of our apps in secure NMCI data centers and have them run there," Christopher said.

"With servers, our unknowns are the same as the desktops of NMCI. Without exception, we have far more servers than we thought we had'anywhere from twice as many as we thought we had to 10 times more," he added.

Christopher said Rear Adm. Charles Munns, NMCI program director, is putting together an initiative to further explore Web hosting.

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