Interior making big moves to the cloud
- By Frank Konkel
- Aug 15, 2013
The Interior Department is making a big push to the cloud in the midst of transforming its IT capabilities by awarding a set of 10 indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contracts valued at as much as $10 billion over the next decade.
The Foundation Cloud Hosting Services contract selected a veritable who’s who of IT and cloud providers after a lengthy process that was delayed by a bid protest that the U.S. Court of Federal Claims ultimately dismissed.
The 10 contract awardees are Aquilent, AT&T, Autonomic Resources, IBM, CGI, GTRI, Lockheed Martin, Smartronix, Unisys and Verizon.
“Each individual contract has a total cap of $1 billion, so the total value of all 10 contracts may be as much as $10 billion,” wrote Andrew Jackson, deputy assistant secretary for technology, information and business services at Interior, in a departmental blog post.
“Individual projects will be awarded via task orders, one for each project, following a one-off competition for the project between the 10 selected vendors,” he added. “All of the vendors have gone through an extensive process to gain their position as a contractor for this project. By doing it this way, Interior hopes to ensure the most competitive prices throughout the life of the contract.”
The first task order under the contract was issued to Unisys for $44 million to move Interior's financial and business management system to the cloud. Other services to be provided through the contract include virtual machines, storage, database hosting, secure file transfers, Web hosting, and development and test environments.
Other federal agencies can access the cloud offerings under Interior’s Foundation Cloud Hosting Services, which can accept requests for quotes and task orders on behalf of civilian agencies and the Defense Department. In this way, the contract acts as a public showcase for those already successful cloud providers.
Overall, Jackson said Interior’s methodical, well-planned and competitive process to move to the cloud will lead to expected savings of $100 million annually from 2016 to 2020. Much of the savings will come from the consolidation of hundreds of geographically dispersed federal data centers and a reduction in the number of in-house servers.
Jackson said Interior, which is the chief steward for 20 percent of the nation’s land, is a leading IT innovator in the federal government, having transitioned to cloud-based records management and email for its 77,000 employees. Those moves and the Foundation Cloud Hosting Services contract are part of Interior’s IT Transformation
Frank Konkel is a staff writer covering big data, mobile, open government and a range of science/technology issues. Connect with him on Twitter at @Frank_Konkel.