Products: Orion D1050
The United States Army is required to store and maintain criminal
investigative and military police records for 40 years. In paper
form, these records were housed at Fort Belvoir, Virginia in a room
the size of a basketball court. As the sole department responsible
for these files, the records grow an additional 55 to 60 thousand
records per year. With each folder containing as many as 50 pages,
the Army needed to recruit a storage solution that was reliable,
scalable and affordable.
In 1992, the Records Management Processing Division (RMPD) of the
US Army conducted a test project to save on storage costs and man-hours.
A conversion service was hired on a temporary contract to begin
the daunting task of imaging all those documents. The service signed
DISC Inc. to provide all of the imaging equipment, including a number
of years worth of files imaged onto 5.25-inch magneto-optical (MO)
media and stored in two optical libraries. Recognizing the savings
provided by the DISC system, the RMPD assigned the continuing efforts
of the conversion to a new department, the US Army Crime Record
Center for the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command
The USACIC stores records on WORM (Write Once,
Read Many) optical disks in compliance with government regulations
to ensure that records are permanent and cannot be changed or modified.
Using a custom image retrieval software program, employees quickly
and easily enter a case number and retrieve any file on the system.
The case file is printed and prepared under the Freedom of Information
Act and the Privacy Act. At the end of July 2000, an estimated 5.3
million images have been stored on the system
"We now have the capacity we need to store 40 years of records,"
said Milton Webb, Deputy Director of the USACIC. "I do plan
to put about a 1 terabyte RAID unit in front of the jukebox for
quicker access to the files because we are going in and out of them
a lot. The delay with the optical library is only a matter of seconds,"
Webb continued, "but if I can take those same images and use
my jukebox for my permanent storage and at the same time cache the
images out to RAID then they are there instantaneously. When I click
on a file it's there. We can store about 56 million images on a
single optical library with a foot-print about the size of a single
One of the major savings of the DISC system is
the reduction in employee time. The office receives an average 10
thousand requests for names, and criminal history checks per month.
According to Webb's studies, to pull those paper files, copy the
folder and re-file it took 5.22 years or a little over 5 people
to do that job in a year. The DISC storage solution allows employees
to do the same job in one and a half man-years.
Maintenance and backup have also been a benefit.
Using the optical system, one jukebox is used as the primary storage
system, while the second unit is maintained as a mirror image of
the primary system for backup. Both the primary and secondary systems
are updated simultaneously, ensuring that if the primary system
suffers a failure or any other downtime, the USACIC's system administrator
can immediately switch all functions over to the secondary system
without any noticeable change to the users.
"We have no complaints about the system,
the maintenance, or DISC. If I were going to purchase again, I would
buy from DISC," continued Webb. "I have no doubt capacities
will continue to double probably 2 or 3 more times before technology
changes completely and I'll have all 40 years of files in my back