New details emerge on GSA's plan to buy cloud services

A managed infrastructure solution might meet GSA's demand for better e-mail and collaboration

The General Services Administration today asked the information technology community for information on a cloud-computing approach to building a new e-mail system.

GSA is considering purchasing e-mail and collaboration services in the form of cloud computing so it can close its old infrastructure and get a state-of-the-art system, according to a request for information.

The procurement agency wants a modern e-mail system and a network to handle an increasingly collaborative working environment, complete with the necessary protections and safeguards, the RFI states.


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GSA said it wants to replace its current system, which ties up resources and is hard to update.

“GSA’s current technology is aged, consumes valuable resources for in-house management, and represents a continuing burden of delayed access to upgrades with a high cost for maintenance,” according to the notice.

The current infrastructure is spread throughout 17 locations and each location has its own server. If a location has power issues, email access is lost, the notice states. The hardware and software infrastructure supports roughly 18,500 accounts with 9,300 accounts accessed via BlackBerry phones. Also, officials anticipate possibly having 30,000 accounts in coming years as the government grows, according to the RFI.

With the growth, storage is increasing, which compounds the system's costs to manage and maintain it. Meanwhile, GSA is under greater pressure to have a faster process for handling e-mail messages in cases of litigation. However, under the current infrastructure, e-mail message archiving is done inconsistently, the RFI states.

GSA is accepting comments to the RFI at the BetterBuyProject's wiki.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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Reader comments

Wed, May 12, 2010 Steven KY

This isn't some ambiguous "cloud" - as advertised in the headline. The GSA is considering outsourcing services to Unisys.

Wed, May 12, 2010

It will be interesting to follow this RFI to see if GSA uses their own contracts or will they issue a new RFP. GSA has contracts with all the email providers except Google - we'll see how this RFI gets shaped and if Google gets the award. GSA is the customer - will they use their exsisting contracts or go else where? This is where "transparency" is a good thing!From an interested taxpayer.U9

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