Forge.mil is a secure website for the military and its software contractors that is based on the same open source software as SourceForge, including the SVN source code versioning system and related CollabNet tools. DISA actually supports two versions, SoftwareForge, which has about 9,000 users, and ProjectForge, a version for projects that require their own private collaboration space. DISA functions as a network and cloud services provider to the branches and departments of the military, so it charges for ProjectForge while making SoftwareForge freely available to authorized users.
The existing Forge.mil tools were effective for collaboration between members of individual projects, but the Forge.mil Community will help promote collaboration on a larger scale, Forge.mil Project Manager Dan Gahafer said in a briefing Wednesday. "This gives us a community layer above what SoftwareForge provides, with content management, information sharing, and the ability to organize around non-project lines."
The base offerings themselves "save tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, today and will ultimately save millions of dollars," Gahafer said. It's difficult to quantify how the benefits play out in terms of code that is reused and adapted for other projects, rather than created from scratch, but DISA believes the program has been very successful, he said.
The Forge.mil Community adds the ability to form "communities of interest" among people who may not necessarily be working on the same software development project but still might be addressing some of the same problems. For example, there are multiple projects associated with different services that are creating software for military healthcare management or new systems for command and control. Although there was nothing stopping them from getting access to each other's Forge.mil projects and software repositories previously, the new overarching community gives them a better chance of finding out about each other's work and perhaps sharing software libraries or components, Gahafer said.
In addition to discussion groups, the collaboration environment features member profile pages, activity streams, and other accoutrements of a social network. Gahafer said the community attracted about 10,000 members in a beta test that started in March, and the system is now live. That's actually somewhat bigger than the underlying SoftwareForge community, he said, possibly because defense contractors and other constituencies who don't necessarily use the Forge.mil software versioning tools nevertheless want access to the software development communities of interest.
By choosing a social environment based on Drupal, DISA was able to customize the open source software to achieve a seamless integration between the Forge.mil community and the software collaboration environment based on SourceForge. "I don't think we could have gotten any other product as integrated as we have" with the same level of time and effort, Gahafer said.
2014 Next-Gen WAN SurveyWhile 68% say demand for WAN bandwidth will increase, just 15% are in the process of bringing new services or more capacity online now. For 26%, cost is the problem. Enter vendors from Aryaka to Cisco to Pertino, all looking to use cloud to transform how IT delivers wide-area connectivity.
Server Market SplitsvilleJust because the server market's in the doldrums doesn't mean innovation has ceased. Far from it -- server technology is enjoying the biggest renaissance since the dawn of x86 systems. But the primary driver is now service providers, not enterprises.
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of December 7, 2014. Be here for the show and for the incredible Friday Afternoon Conversation that runs beside the program!