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Featured Customer: Defense Information Service Agency (DISA)

Real-time data saves lives


Real-time data analysis is a strategic asset to almost any enterprise with valuable data. The Defense Information Services Agency’s (DISA) Global Command and Control System (GCCS-J) uses GemFire to supply the Common Operating Picture to the US Military for real time situational awareness. DISA’s servers take data feeds from over 70 realtime sources, correlates them and distributes them to end users. Each track management server manages up to 100,000 objects that it tracks for situational awareness. That is up from just 20,000 a few years ago.

Prior to using GemFire users could only access one track management server from a desktop. DISA wanted a single application that would allow users access multiple track management servers simultaneously and provide a real-time, 3-D window into situational field applications. It also needed to be able to support forward deployed users who were on disadvantaged networks and intermittently connected (called DIL orDisconnected, Interrupted, and Low-bandwidth by the military). That required filtering data to end users based on what they wanted to see on their screen to minimize the use of precious bandwidth. It also requires the ability to queue up data changes for users when they are off the network and resynchronize when the users are back on the network. Accessing and analyzing incoming data from the field in near real time is critical to command decisions.

Benefit of GemFire

Adding GemFire to DISA enabled:

  • Fine Grained data filtering – to reduce network bandwidth usage and reduce client-side data processing
    • Continuous Queries evaluated as data arrives, each client only receives exactly the data it requested
  • Fault Tolerance
    • Lossless messaging to servers
    • Automatic fault tolerant message queuing for slow or disconnected clients
    • Cross Server data replication (including client queries and queues)
      • No data loss for servers or clients in case of server failure
      • No loss of messages between client and server
    • Optional disk persistence
  • Cross site Server data replication in case of site failure

Adding GemFire to the Client application enabled

  • Regular and Continuous Queries (CQs) to filter data
  • Flexibility
    • Connect to data from multiples
    • Combine data from multiple sources
    • Provide Alerts on incoming data based on fine grained queries
    • Query client-side data for further detailed drill-down
    • Query across multiple client-side data sources (joins, etc)
  • Survivability
    • No message loss even if client computer too busy to process incoming data from network
    • Automatically switch to alternate server if primary server dies – no data loss
  • Support for disconnected Operations
    • Keep client data in face network outage
    • Persist data to disk, keep client data even if client loses power

Adding GemFire also provided critical end to end system benefits

  • Security- Since the previous system was client’s only go to the local server, there was no support for authentication or authorization. Once a client to connect anywhere, it was critical to assure the user was authenticated and authorized. Lives can be lost if the enemy can see the US Military operational picture.
    • Mutually authentication between client and server from GemFire- supports military’s PKI infrastructure
    • Pluggable J2SE (JAAS) Identification, Authentication & Authorization -uses organizations security mechanisms to support DISA’s Net Centric Enterprise Services I&AA mechanisms
  • Manageability – The system is globally distributed and thus hard to manage from a central set of operations centers
    • JMX management, monitoring, alerts enables GemFire to plug into their existing management nfrastructure
    • GemFire Servers monitor GemFire clients reducing the number of places to connect to for monitoring. For the most part no one is exactly sure where the clients are. The servers are at well known locations.