GSA seeks backup systems

The General Services Administration last week kicked off a disaster recovery procurement that will succeed a $50 million contract awarded to Comdisco Inc. in 1993 but with a greatly expanded scope.

The Federal Systems Integration and Management Center's Computer and Communications Recovery Services pact will expand beyond that earlier contract which will expire September 1998. The Comdisco contract focuses on the recovery of IBM Corp.-compatible mainframes.

But the follow-on contract - according to the draft request for proposals released last week - will provide backup services for midrange systems personal computers and local-area networks as well as mainframes. Three IDIQs in 1998 GSA's Federal Computer Acquisition Center expects award up to three five-year indefinite-delivery indefinite-quantity contracts for disaster recovery services in January 1998.

The time lag between the projected January award and the existing contract's September expiration date is to allow time for a new contractor to get up to speed in the event that a contractor other than the incumbent is selected said D. Jeanne Davis Fedcac contracting officer on the disaster recovery procurement.

George Haynes research director at IDC Government Falls Church Va. said the expanded scope of the new procurement makes sense given the migration of key applications off mainframes. "More and more mission-critical systems or essential business functions are being performed on midrange systems and LANs " Haynes said. He added that organizations thus far have paid little attention in these areas to disaster recovery planning.

The draft RFP noted "Since the Comdisco contract was awarded in June 1993 more federal agencies process critical applications on midrange systems and on small office systems." But the document also stated that mainframe installations "continue to grow due to increasing workloads technological advances and workload consolidations/facility closings."

Contract Draws Interest Vendors likely to be interested in the procurement include Comdisco and SunGard Computer Services Inc. which Comdisco beat out for the current GSA contract. Officials at Comdisco and SunGard could not be reached for comment. Davis said she could not estimate the size of the data center program at this time. In addition to disaster recovery services the winning contractors also must provide consulting services such as business impact analysis and automated tools to support disaster recovery planning.

Vendors also can provide optional features such as off-site data storage and retrieval. Comdisco's contract has supported a number of federal data centers over the past few years. According to the draft RFP 40 federal information technology installations have used the Comdisco disaster recovery services pact through Oct. 1 1996. Through the contract Comdisco has backed up IBM-compatible mainframe systems totaling 3 500 millions of instructions per second of capacity and 18 500G of direct-access storage devices. Vendor questions or comments on the draft RFP are due to Fedcac on March 24.

The draft RFP is available at www.gsa.gov/fedcac.

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