The Total Ammunition Management Information System (TAMIS) manages, collects, and processes ammunition requests, authorizations, expenditures, and related data. It handles tactical and training ammunition requests worldwide for the U.S. Army, National Guard, Reserves, and Marine Corps units. TAMIS helps military personnel forecast requirements so that ammunition supplies are sent where needed in a timely fashion. Originally used for managing training ammunition nearly a decade ago on a mainframe system, the software was migrated to a web-based application in 2000. In keeping with an Army goal of moving toward a Net-centric environment, the Army’s G-3 Munitions Management Office is continuously adapting and refining TAMIS capabilities to meet Army transformation goals.
Military personnel need to be able to access and interact with TAMIS at any time, from any place. As the Army added new and more functionality to TAMIS, it began seeing web performance issues. “While we anticipated thousands of users from day one, we experienced problems when so many users started using the application simultaneously. Many TAMIS users are overseas, in remote areas, and we were getting a flood of emails complaining about slow connectivity, timing out, and dropped connections,” explains Bob Torche, project manager of TAMIS. In response, the Munitions Management Office upgraded hardware used to run the web application, but that did not solve the latency problem. The Army knew it had to address the issue quickly.
The Army needed to meet three key requirements to support its objectives:
Finding the Right Solution for Dynamic Content The G-3 Munitions Management Office began researching web acceleration strategies and options in 2005. The vendor that provides digital signature software for TAMIS made the Army aware of Akamai.
Torche and his colleagues heard that other military and government organizations were using Akamai cloud services and solutions, but thought Akamai could only quickly deliver static content and optimize streaming video and audio. “We had come across a few companies that could optimize delivery of static content, but we were working with dynamic content in a transaction- based application,” explains Torche. In fact, as munitions are managed, requirements calculated, forecasts placed, and requests validated and approved, the application relies on continuous interaction between thousands of users and the TAMIS servers. “We discovered that the Akamai Web Application Accelerator solution could reliably resolve our response time and connectivity challenges,” continues Torche.
When TAMIS wasn’t responsive, Army personnel were forced to retry the web application, sometimes at inconvenient times, such as late at night when they thought fewer users would be trying to access it. In the midst of wartime and fast- paced operations, such delays are unacceptable. Fortunately the Akamai web performance solution was fast and easy to implement. “We were seeking a quick, effective, and reliable resolution. Implementing the Akamai solution was painless. Once the Akamai discussions were finalized, all we had to do was make a DNS change and we were up and running within a few hours,” explains Torche.
The Munitions Management Office needed to see a substantial and constant improvement in response time in order to consider the Akamai solution effective. And it wanted the results verified by an independent third party. “If a user can’t quickly and reliably access and request ammunition, we have not met the fundamental premise of Net-centricity. I didn’t feel something like a 10-20% improvement would be noticeable,” says Torche. Using Gomez testing services, the Army was able to immediately see the impact of the Akamai solution. According to Torche, “I was amazed by the performance improvement. Almost instantly, our average global performance improved more than 63%. More importantly, our performance overseas – particularly in remote sites – improved by 83%. And that improvement has held steady.”
Since the Akamai web performance solution was implemented, the number of Army and Marine Corps users managing ammunition online has grown to over 8,500 and monthly transactions have increased to over 300,000. “In the past we were bogged down responding to complaints about connectivity and trying to diagnose communications and reliability issues. Now we can focus on helping users manage munitions more effectively and we can dedicate more resources towards new functionality,” concludes Torche.
The Total Ammunition Management Information System (TAMIS) is the ammunition requirements generator, prioritization tool, and reporting application for Headquarters Department of the Army and subordinate organizations. The Army headquarters uses TAMIS to validate, approve, and distribute munitions authorizations and collect expenditures from each Army Command, Army Service Component Command, Field Operating Agency, Direct Reporting Units, and the Army National Guard. Subordinate Army organizations use TAMIS to build, prioritize, and manage training and operational munitions and to build combat loads and sustainment load for operational forces. The Total Army and the Marine Corp use TAMIS to forecast requirements so that ammunition supplies are sent where needed in a timely fashion. For more information, visit www.army.mil.