Monitoring is the key to Navy's NGEN transition

The switch from NMCI to NGEN is a complex process that requires careful attention to security, SolarWinds' Paul McCloskey writes.

Every agency within the Defense Department is undergoing transformation, but perhaps none more so than the Navy. For a few years, the organization has embarked on a massive network overhaul as it transitions services away from what the Navy describes as the “monolithic” Navy Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI) to the more “segmented” Next Generation Enterprise Network (NGEN). This process will create new IT challenges for a military branch already grappling with unprecedented network complexity.

Part of this complexity is due to the fact that, at least for a while, the Navy will have two coexisting networks that, superficially, appear to be very similar. NGEN will initially follow the same model as NMCI, as it will be contractor-owned and operated. And although NMCI services will be transferred to NGEN vendors, the old network will remain in place in the short term.

 

But while NGEN will start as an acquisition tool meant to further the process initiated with NMCI, the ultimate goal for the new network is far more ambitious than simple acquisition. The Navy wants NGEN to offer a host of services across different areas and intends to use it to provide processes and solutions to warfighters, scientists, administrators and more. In fact, according to the Naval Enterprise Networks Program Office, NGEN will provide IT services to more than 700,000 Navy and Marine Corps users. These services will have to be provided securely and in a budget-constrained environment that is always under the threat of attack.

 

In short: Now, more than ever, the Navy must employ a plan to ensure that its networks remain secure and operational. To do so, Naval IT personnel must go back to the basics and ensure that their network monitoring strategies are up to the challenge.

 

First, they’ll need to ensure they’re using quite possibly the most robust monitoring system they’ve ever deployed. This will not be a simple network that only serves a few thousand users within the borders of the United States. The Navy will be incorporating multiple networks globally to service international mission partners and fleet users.

 

To maintain the security and reliability of such an effort, Navy IT administrators will need to be able to monitor the entirety of their networks, regardless of the different vendors and tools in use. Some of these will be commercial off-the-shelf software, while some others may be of a proprietary nature. Either way, it’s likely that there will be even more combinations employed as the Navy moves toward NGEN.

Navy IT administrators must develop a strategy to monitor all of these disparate solutions. This involves taking a platform-independent approach to network monitoring that can detect latency and bottlenecks regardless of the hardware or software that’s being used. The process must also be able to help them identify when the resources of a particular component are about to be exhausted, so they may plan accordingly and prepare for future requirements.

 

It’s not just the technologies that need to be monitored, but overall network usage. It goes without saying that the introduction of hundreds of thousands of users to Navy networks could create significant strain. And while the Navy already has well-established traffic and bandwidth estimation and monitoring processes in place, administrators will want to ensure that these procedures are ready for any additional strain that NGEN will undoubtedly present.

 

The complexity of the network will call for detailed processes that allow administrators to track network traffic and bandwidth in near real-time. To maintain optimization, they will need a clear view of who, what and how with regard to bandwidth use in order to ensure continuous network reliability.

 

Administrators will want to be able to monitor bandwidth usage at the user level, with the ability to identify who is using the most bandwidth. They’ll want to be able to ping those users in case a problem arises. This is critically important for a network of this size, with this many people.

 

In addition to the multitudes of users, there are going to be thousands of devices and applications running on the networks. These may hamper bandwidth and, in the case of devices, introduce unwanted security risks. Administrators will want to monitor both of these factors to minimize the impact of bandwidth upon network performance and keep unauthorized devices and users from accessing the network. 

 

All of this is only taking into consideration what we know to be true right now. Who knows how NGEN will ultimately evolve, and what additional complexities that evolution will introduce? The only certainty is that it’s best to plan for those complexities now by laying the groundwork that will help protect and ensure the success of the Naval network today.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.