NASA plans fluid SEWP III contract
- By Paula Shaki Trimble
- Oct 16, 2000
NASA's SEWP III Web site
The next iteration of NASA's contract to offer high-end workstations and
peripherals to scientific and engineering users governmentwide is focused
on keeping systems interoperable while encouraging the use of emerging systems
throughout the life of the contract.
The draft solicitation for NASA's Science and Engineering Workstation Procurement
(SEWP) III contract was released Oct. 12 and can be found on NASA's SEWP
III Web site (sewpiii.sewp.nasa.gov). Comments from industry and other interested
participants are due Oct. 26. While SEWP III seeks to enhance and maintain
the standard Unix environment that exists throughout NASA's scientific and
engineering community, it also strives to keep pace with the most current
NASA anticipates awarding firm-fixed price indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity
contracts in nine computer systems and server classes and five supporting
The previous two SEWP contracts have been popular governmentwide for users
of high-end Unix and Microsoft Corp. Windows NT workstations. SEWP II contracts
will end in November. SEWP II receives about 1,000 orders per month and
has made $1.5 billion in sales during four years, according to Joanne Woytek,
SEWP manager for NASA.
The original SEWP contracts helped establish Unix as the unifying computer
system within NASA's scientific and engineering environment, according to
the draft request for proposals.
However, new trends such as the increasing use of the Windows NT operating
system and servers capable of efficiently running the Windows operating
system have emerged, forcing SEWP to adapt. Linux also is emerging as a
new research and development tool at NASA. And with the increased use of
the World Wide Web, networking and security have become more important and
are reflected in the draft specifications for equipment in SEWP III.
To minimize system incompatibilities and keep existing and future systems
interoperable, NASA will work within an open systems environment that requires
all systems offered to be Unix-based or interoperable with Unix.
SEWP III will also allow new vendors and technology to enter the contract
throughout the technology refreshment cycle, which will keep SEWP competitive
with what is commercially available.
NASA plans to use SEWP to demonstrate the latest in electronic procurement
methods. Although it has ended its relationship with NIC Commerce to design
an e-commerce site for the contract, NASA plans to partner with industry
to develop a virtual environment suited to this type of contracting for
smaller numbers of equipment.
SEWP III will also comply with Section 508 of the Workforce Investment Act
of 1998, which requires all technology bought through the contract to be
accessible to federal employees with disabilities.