NASA Postpones Part of Multibillion-dollar IT Consolidation Drive

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WASHINGTON — NASA has delayed until fall part of a multibillion-dollar effort to consolidate information technology (IT) contracts in order to retool the acquisition to conform with White House guidance, according to a March 5 presolicitation notice posted on the Federal Business Opportunities Web site.

“With leadership changes and new [White House Office of Management and Budget] requirements regarding Cloud Computing, Greening IT, Virtualization, and Federal Data Center consolidation guidance, NASA reexamined the [NASA Enterprise Data Center] acquisition strategy and concluded it did not fully address future NASA enterprise requirements,” the notice states.

The NASA Enterprise Data Center consolidation initiative is one of five contracts comprising the agency’s multibillion-dollar IT Infrastructure Improvement Program, known as I3P. NASA spends approximately $1.6 billion dollars annually on IT, according to agency data, most of it for end-user services that could be combined under a single management structure.

NASA released contract solicitations in late 2009 and early 2010 for four of the five contracts, with the first of the awards expected by October. These solicitations are: the Enterprise Applications for Service Technologies contract that would standardize IT applications across centers and facilities and improve information security and infrastructure management; the Web Enterprise Service Technologies contract calling for Web site hosting, content management, messaging and calendar services; the Integrated Communications Services contract to provide NASA with wide- and local-area network, telecommunications and data services; and the Agency Consolidated End User Services contract issued in late January, worth an estimated $2.5 billion, according to Organizational Communications Inc., a Reston, Va.-based consultancy.

The Enterprise Data Center contract, which would consolidate NASA’s IT infrastructure at the agency’s numerous facilities, was expected to follow, though its release is not likely until September at the earliest, according to the March 5 notice.

Although the IT acquisition strategy will be retooled, the changes apply only to the NASA Enterprise Data Center contract, not the broader I3P procurement, according to NASA spokesman David Steitz. NASA intends to now create a data center consolidation plan to incorporate all data centers, systems and applications, including “a data center architecture and full enterprise assessment.”

The plan also will weigh the cost of modernizing existing NASA IT facilities or outsourcing data center services to the private sector.

NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver told Space News March 10 the agency had worked closely with the White House chief information officer, Vivek Kundra, to ensure I3P was in line with the president’s plan for modernizing the federal government’s information technology systems.

Garver said I3P solicitations were delayed several months in 2009 to allow incoming NASA Chief Information Officer Linda Cureton, appointed to the post in September, to review the initiative. Garver said the Enterprise Data Center contract is under review, but that she is not aware of significant changes to the broader IT consolidation effort.