SSA to modify mainframe buy

The Social Security Administration agreed last month to amend its multimillion-dollar mainframe buy to settle a vendor's protest that the buy unfairly favors IBM Corp. over other bidders.

SSA agreed to remove from its Mainframe Acquisition Project (MAP) a requirement that bidders include a recently developed technology called Sysplex Coupling Facilities.

SCF, which now is manufactured only by IBM, manages the workload among a group of mainframes, controlling which mainframe accesses a database. It also makes the most efficient use of memory and makes expansion easier.

SCF is a key component of MAP, a procurement that will allow SSA to replace 14 mainframes with five more-powerful mainframes at its National Computer Center. SSA conducts almost all its heavy computer processing at the center.

On March 1 Amdahl Corp. filed a pre-bid protest with the General Services Administration's Board of Contract Appeals charging that SSA "virtually preordained" the selection of IBM by requiring vendors to include six SCFs in their bids. Other bidders would be forced to pay a higher price for the SCFs than IBM, Amdahl argued [FCW, March 18].

SSA has agreed to remove the SCF requirement and to conduct a separate procurement for SCFs later this year.

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