NIAPS Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Replication is the transfer of data between servers as it pertains to DS and NIAPS. Use of NIAPS products generate replication files that are transferred from ship-to-shore or shore-to- ship either manually (by the NIAPS system administrator) or automatically (via an executable file stored on the server that NIAPS resides on). This term describes the transfer of data between DS servers afloat and appropriate shore servers (outbound amendments/inbound amendments) To ensure data between ship and shore servers remains synchronized, the servers that NIAPS reside on are configured to replicate periodically.
For example, over 4,100 Navy E-Learning courses resident on NIAPS can be accessed at sea without the worldwide web and without a Common Access Card (CAC). Once courses are completed onboard, transaction data is replicated from ship-to- shore to update personnel and training records. Similarly, new and updated courses are replicated from shore-to-ship to update the catalog of available courses.
Submarines: Submarine replication is done manually or automatically at Commanding Officer discretion. An executable script file that configures NIAPS for automatic replication is available upon request from the Navy 311 Support Center.
Aircraft Carriers and Surface Ships: NIAPS versions 1.2 and higher capable ships use the inherent replication schema that automatically transfers replication files from ship-to-shore 6 times per 24 hour period. When operations dictate, Commanding Officers reduce the number of automatic replications, ensuring that a minimum of one replication per day is completed when connectivity is available.
For all NIAPS-equipped ships, the NIAPS System Administrator checks the server for replication files transferred from shore-to-ship (inbound amendments) on a daily basis. The NIAPS System Administrator shall use command guidance in determining which inbound amendments will be manually downloaded from the shore server that NIAPS resides on. Various inbound amendments are time sensitive (e.g., hull specific amendments require immediate download to ship's server where NIAPS resides, while others can be delayed until pier-side connectivity is available).
Manual methods of sending data (e.g. via CD, DVD, etc.) are only to be used when conditions preclude use of the server that NIAPS resides on. In the event circumstances prevent replication and NIAPS loses connectivity, ships may request DVD updates be mailed to the command. Submit requests via Navy 311's support request form. Ships may also pre-order DVDs to be shipped at regular intervals if they know they will have extended periods of no replication. Back to Top
An example of how the replication process works is described below. Please note that all paths and publication names are used for illustrative purposes only and may not reflect actual data and paths used. Replication discussions should be held for each NIAPS candidate to determine the best replication method to be used:
The simplest way to explain replication is to talk about the data compression software used for the replication process.
Folders that contain information are put into data compression software and the software then creates what's called a "publication." A publication is a collection of folders that are compressed, much like a WinZip file. The publication can be extracted by the data replication software client on the ship, so that the ship sees the same folders that are on the shore. When changes happen in the folders in a publication, the data replication software scans the folders, identifies changes, and then creates amendments which are updates to the base information in a publication. For more on information on publications and amendments, see the FAQs in this section on publications and amendments.
Normal NIAPS replication frequency is six times a day. When a ship is in port, connected to the internet, this replication schedule can normally be met. When a ship is operating at sea, bandwidth limitations and operation will often affect this replication frequency. Back to Top
Normally, the replication file size is limited to 10-50 MB of data per day. Additional questions related to this can be directed to the NIAPS Replication Lead (NSWC Crane), 812-854-6073. Back to Top
Tumbleweed (now Axway) SecureTransport and iORA/ Infonic Geo-Replicator are the current software packages used for the replication process.
Yes. Data is encrypted during the replication process. Back to Top
The Content Health Indicator Tool (CHIT) provides system administrators onboard ship a visual device to estimate the current NIAPS replication health. CHIT is comprised of two main parts:
The Health and Monitoring System (HAMS) is a shore-based, proprietary application developed by NSWC Crane that captures, stores and displays replication related data from all fleet platforms that have NIAPS. The type of data HAMS monitors and can display includes:
The replication data that is captured is made viewable on a CAC enabled website. Access to this site allows interested parties the ability to monitor NIAPS replication of a product to a specific platform from a remote location. Access to HAMS is controlled. The process of getting access to HAMS can be initiated through their NIAPS Customer Advocate. Back to Top
The Content Health Indicator Tool (CHIT) only provides visibility of data replication for a specific ship or hull platform. CHIT is ship unique and is accessible only from onboard the ship or hull platform. The Health and Monitoring System (HAMS) provides visibility of data replication across all ship or hull platforms and can be accessed remotely through a CAC enabled website. Back to Top
Publications are comprised of web based content, training materials, ship manuals, technical drawings, human resource data, sensor data, and other data intended to reside on NIAPS. Publications consist of the base information loaded by NSWC Crane onto the server NIAPS rides on. Amendments (changes to the base data) would not be possible without publications (base data). See the FAQ "What is an "amendment" as it relates to replication?" for more. Back to Top
Amendments are comprised of changes to web based content, training materials, ship manuals, technical drawings, human resource data, sensor data and other data intended to reside on NIAPS. Basically, amendments are highly compressed files that are only readable by the NIAPS system. Amendments are always uploaded from ship to shore, but only critical and important priority amendments are downloaded automatically from shore to NIAPS (like IAVA security patches). Amendments are distributed to all ship and hull platforms that have NIAPS on them through amendment servers (a.k.a Knowledge Management Centers). Amendments can also be distributed to a specific platform via CD/DVD if needed.