GSA awards 3 recovery-services pacts

The General Services Administration late last week awarded contracts to Comdisco Continuity Services, SunGuard Recovery Services Inc. and IBM Business Recovery Services for governmentwide disaster-recovery services to support mainframe, midrange and desktop systems.

The three vendors will provide "hot sites" to which federal agencies could move their operations in the event of an emergency. The sites also will be available as venues for agencies to test their disaster-recovery plans, and the vendors will provide consulting services to advise agencies on how to best maintain their operational capabilities under emergency conditions.

The contracts were awarded as part of the GSA Federal Computer Acquisition Center's (Fedcac) Computing and Communications Recovery Services program. David Krohmal, GSA's manager of the disaster-recovery program, said he believes the contract eventually will serve more than 100 federal organizations.

"We have brought together the world's three largest providers of disaster recovery to one program," Krohmal said. "It will enable us to compete requirements amongst these contractors, and there is no possibility of a less-than-qualified contractor winning a piece of business. We will be assured of the best possible technical solution at the best possible price."

Krohmal said the new contracts differ from GSA's existing contract awarded to Comdisco in June 1993 in that the new contracts cover midrange and desktop systems in addition to mainframe operations. Consequently, Krohmal said he expects GSA's disaster-recovery business to double, although he declined to estimate how much the contracts will be worth. Comdisco's contract will expire at the end of this fiscal year.

Dion Rudnicki, a client executive at IBM Global Government Industry, said he believes the expansion of the contract will make it more attractive to customers. "This is much more reflective of government operations these days," he said.

The contract also allows vendors to offer optional ancillary equipment and services, such as automated planning tools, off-site storage of magnetic media, Year 2000 conversion, overseas or classified facilities for disaster recovery, and high-speed communications circuits.

Rudnicki added that he believes Year 2000 conversion testing will be a large part of the work performed on these contracts, despite the fact that Year 2000 testing capability was not required in the Fedcac solicitation.

Tom Mazich, vice president of federal marketing at Comdisco, said his company is looking forward to providing a greater range of services to the government— something it had not been able to do under the existing contract, which will expire this year.

"The market has evolved beyond the scope of that contract, so we think this will bring the government more in lockstep with what the commercial marketplace is benefiting from," Mazich said.

GSA officials said they believe the internal competition created by the multiple awards will result in lower rates to users.

Jerry Masino, vice president of sales at SunGuard, said his company is prepared to handle orders from agencies regardless of the type of equipment used by customers. "We can provide all of the services supporting more than 20 platforms," he said.

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