31 August 2010

The only IT system that makes AKO look good

A tip of the hat to Noah Shachtman of Wired.com for his excellent expose on the excesses of the Navy/Marine Corps Internet system.  If you thought AKO's paltry 100 MB e-mail serverlaughably bad security questions and general uselessness were bad, wait till you see NMCI (appropriately dubbed the "Non-Mission Capable Internet"), developed by Hewlett-Packard:

HP — which acquired Electronic Data Systems and its Navy contract in 2008 — still operates under performance metrics set a decade ago. A typical workstation on the network costs the Navy $2,490.72 per year. That includes an e-mail inbox with a 50-MB capacity (Gmail’s: 7,500 MB), and 700 MB of network storage (compared to Evernote’s unlimited, free plan). Anything above that is extra.

A year’s use of a “high-end graphics” workstation sets the Navy back $4,085.64. Extra applications on a laptop or desktop computer can run anywhere from $1,006.68 to $4,026.72 annually. A classified Ethernet port — $9,300 to $28,800 per year, depending on where it’s located.

What’s more, HP isn’t required to take security measures like hard disk encryption, threat heuristics, and network access control that are common today, but were exotic in 2000. “Anti-spam services” runs the Navy $2.7 million per year under the contract. Cleaning up a “data spillage” – classified information that got placed an unclassified network – costs $11,800 per incident. In 2008, the Navy paid about $5 million to wipe the data from 432 compromised computers. That’s “almost 10 times the cost of simply destroying the affected machines and replacing them with new ones,” the Washington Times reported.


dorsai said...

Ah! This explains a lot. I've always been surprised at your expressed dislike of AKO. I have relied on NMCI for the greater part of my (mostly reserve) military career, and when I discovered AKO it felt like a breath of fresh air in comparison. Heck, AKO gives 100MB mailboxes, the ability to log in with passwords if you don't have your CAC, and (glory of all glories) the ability to sync with IMAP so that I can read/send mail on a mobile device.

Yes, NMCI sucks as bad as this article describes. I can't put into words how crazy it makes us when we use it. AKO is worlds better than the unholy mess of NMCI and NKO.

Adam S. said...

All government contracts have a clause called "Termination for Convienience."

I bet we could find some savings for the SecDef in this contract.

Charlie said...

I didn't find this until now. However, what dorsai says is only too true. I spent 6 months attending an Army career course before deploying to Iraq in an Army AO. I've been using AKO and AKO-S off and on for about 3 years now. To an NMCI user, AKO seems like God's gift to IT. I'm amazed at how user friendly it is. What does that say about NMCI, I wonder?