Procurement

NASA open source project back on track

NASA headquarters

NASA headquarters, Washington D.C.

NASA’s shift to open-source content management is back on after the incumbent contractor withdrew a bid protest on Feb. 4.

The withdrawal of the protest, filed by e-Touch Federal Systems on Dec. 28 after NASA awarded Rockville-Md.-based InfoZen a $40 million blanket purchase agreement, allows InfoZen to begin replacing NASA’s existing content management system with open source architecture to run its 140 websites and 1,600 web assets and applications.

No reason for the withdrawn protest was listed on the Government Accountability Office’s bid protest docket and is not immediately clear.

In an e-mail to FCW, InfoZen CTO Christopher David said the contract, which has a one-year base and four one-year options, officially began on Feb. 8 with InfoZen setting up for a smooth transition from e-Touch Federal Systems.

NASA had been pushing for the creation of a single infrastructure to support its websites and applications, giving preference to open-source technology in accordance with its Open Data Plan, which resulted from the Obama administration’s Open Government Initiative.

In a statement released prior to the bid protest, NASA said the agreement with InfoZen will provide a cloud-based solution for Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS) for internal and external websites and web applications. Services will include content management, as well as search and collaborative services, such as blogs and wikis.

NASA’s main portal, www.nasa.gov, is heavily trafficked, attracting 600,000 unique web visitors per day and more than 140 million visits per year.

Ultimately, the bid protest delayed the start date by about one week for InfoZen, which had planned to begin work on Feb. 1. In accordance with federal law, an agency cannot move forward with a new contract while it is being protested.

About the Author

Frank Konkel is a former staff writer for FCW.

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