Neo4j Keeps the Army Running by Tracking Equipment Maintenance

The Challenge

Equipment levels on the scale of the U.S. Army require a massive amount of maintenance and support, necessitating the procurement of millions of spare parts per year. Since maintenance, operation and support costs of equipment (depending on the program and program longevity) represent as much as 80 percent of the total lifecycle costs, it is understandable that the tracking of these costs is very important.

The tracking of parts orders and the connections to the systems, components and subcomponents that they are being ordered for is a significant logistical challenge for the Army. Army leaders need the ability to rapidly query this connected data to:

    • Forecast the need for replacement parts
    • Calculate mean time to failure rates
    • Perform multi-dimensional cost comparison and trend analysis
    • Inform the Army’s budget requirements process
    • Answer vital “what-if” questions such as the cost of deploying certain forces and the supporting equipment to a new war zone

The level of data management was becoming increasingly difficult on the Army’s aging mainframe-based system as the volume of available data was increasing and many of the historical data sources were changing. It was obvious that a system with more flexibility would offer greater performance and the ability to add in new dimensions for more insights and richer analysis.

The Solution

The Army recognized the need to modernize its core tracking system. The scale of the information Neo4j handles is vast, including a 3TB database with over 5.2 billion nodes and 14.1 billion relationships. Working with CALIBRE, an employee-owned management consulting and IT solutions company that delivers enduring solutions to defense, federal, and commercial clients, the U.S. Army is now employing Neo4j as a major part of their solution for providing greater visibility into the total costs of owning a system.

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