Logicon to help IBM in DOD server market
- By George I. Seffers
- Aug 13, 2001
IBM Corp. is turning to Logicon Inc. for help in its effort to acquire alarger share of the Defense Department server market.
In an agreement announced July 25, Logicon will bring AIX, the IBM Unixoperating system, into compliance with DOD's information technology architecture,known as the Defense Information Infrastructure Common Operating Environment(DII COE). AIX is used on IBM's eServer pSeries systems.
The family of servers includes the pSeries 620, 640, 660 and 680 models,which range in price from $3,500 to $240,000.
IBM's troubled history in acquiring and retaining DII COE compliancehas left the company largely on the sidelines of the estimated $2 billionserver market, said Bob Sudalnik, IBM's Unix project man.ager for the Logiconcertification process.
"Due to DII COE non.com.pliance and some historical factors, we've hadless success in the server market," Sudalnik said.
"By addressing DII COE, we should have an entry into the Departmentof Defense, where before it was a major stumbling block for us. It becamevery clear from [the Defense Information Systems Agency] that DII COE wasof significant importance to them, and we simply had to step up and addressit."
DISA spokeswoman Betsy Flood, however, pointed out that although DIICOE compliance is department policy, it is not required before a contractwin.
"If an acquisition official chooses to mandate compliance prior tothe award, this is a local acquisition decision, not required by policy,"she said.
Logicon, a unit of Northrop Grumman Corp., helped write the initialDII COE software and has assisted other com.panies in meeting compliancestandards. But the process is complex.
Glenn Hechton, Logicon's DII COE solutions manager, said the processpublished by DISA takes "many hundreds of pages of steps," but he boiledthem down to six general phases:
* Acquiring DISA's certification program.
* Requesting the kernel software developed by DISA.
* Converting the operating system to run under the DISA software, which"can take four or five months or as much as a year for non-Unix systems,"Hechton said.
* Testing the system and documenting the results.
* Submitting a formal request for compliance certification from DISA.
* "Step six is celebrating," Hechton said.
IBM has had some success in selling computers to DOD. IBM Global Services-Federalwon a five-year Army contract in December for the Mini, Maxi and Database-1program. The contract has a $618 million ordering limit and features a worldwideon-site warranty open to all federal agencies. IBM is selling Hewlett-PackardCo. work.stations running Microsoft Corp. Windows NT 4.0 and Unix, as wellas IBM laser printers and servers.
The company also is a strong competitor in the defense supercomputermarket, Sudalnik said. For example, IBM supplies the largest supercomputers— SP2s and SP3s — at three of the four DOD supercomputing centers knownas major shared resource centers.