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3/5/2012
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DISA Suffers Another Network Outage

Defense Information Systems Agency has second outage incident in about four months.

Federal Data Center Consolidation Makes Progress
Federal Data Center Consolidation Makes Progress
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The Defense Information Systems Agency experienced its second Internet outage in nearly four months when some users on the network experienced a service disruption last week. The problem is just one of several the feds have had with network reliability issues in the last six months.

Some DISA network users in the Washington D.C. and Midwest regions were unable to connect to the Internet for about three hours last Thursday because of technical issues at three of the DoD gateways that interface with commercial Internet access points, DISA spokesperson Tracy Sharpe said via email Monday.

DISA worked with commercial vendors and partners to reroute critical DoD traffic and mitigate the issue until it could resolve the technical problems with the gateways, she said. Service was restored within about three hours and the network is now fully operational.

Though the outage was quickly resolved, it points to persistent issues at the agency, which itself provides information technology (IT) services and support for the Department of Defense (DoD).

[ Read about the updated federal cybersecurity standards. See Federal Cybersecurity Guidelines Now Cover Cloud, Mobility. ]

In November, a disk pool within one of the agency's storage-area networks failed, which took down DISA's website and blocked DoD personnel from accessing collaboration apps. The problem took five days to fully resolve.

Network reliability in general is critical to federal agencies, which are all working to reform their IT systems, services, and practices to provide better and more reliable service to constituents via the Internet.

However, an IT support agency like DISA--which will soon be responsible for hosting the Army’s entire email and collaboration system in a private cloud--has an even greater responsibility to ensure network reliability.

DISA is not alone among agencies in its network issues. CIO.gov, the website for the White House’s CIO Council, has had several outages in the past few months, including sporadic outages during one week in November and another in January.

In October, a public furor was made and Congressional committee convened over myriad problems with the relaunch of the USAJobs.gov website. The site experienced a series of glitches that made it and many of its services inaccessible to users for weeks.

InformationWeek and InformationWeek Government are conducting a survey on IT security and cybersecurity in U.S. federal government agencies. Upon completion of our survey, you will be eligible to enter a drawing to receive an Apple 16-GB iPad 2. Take our Federal Government Cybersecurity Survey now. Survey ends March 9.

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