NIST could move to Drupal

Officials at the National Institute of Standards and Technology could soon be saying goodbye to the agency's proprietary content management system as they consider migrating NIST's external website to an open source solution.

According to a solicitation notice first posted Aug. 3 on the Federal Business Opportunities website, NIST officials have launched a Drupal Web Content Management (WCM) Pilot project to get the necessary expertise and to zero in on requirements needed to move the NIST external website to a cloud-based Drupal web content management system.

Some of the major goals of the pilot include:

• Define NIST functional and technical requirements for WCM.
• Identify security requirements needed for migrating to a Drupal cloud solution.
• Determine if Drupal will satisfy NIST web development needs.
• Assess cost, time lines and business case information necessary for migration.
• Pinpoint the challenges in moving to a Drupal cloud solution.

NIST is currently using CommonSpot, a proprietary CMS that comes as both an on-premise product and a Software-as-a-Service, cloud-based solution. The move to Drupal would add the agency to a growing list of federal agencies using the open source CMS: the departments of Education, Energy and Veterans Affairs, as well as the Federal Communications Commission and the Small Business Administration are just a few examples of those running Drupal on either their external public-facing websites or intranets.

Additionally, the Obama administration has been using Drupal for WhiteHouse.gov since President Barack Obama’s early days in office. In April 2010, as part of its ongoing effort to create an open platform for WhiteHouse.gov, officials also released some of the custom code they had developed.

NIST contracting officials are planning to award the Drupal acquisition as a small-business set-aside.

About the Author

Camille Tuutti is a former FCW staff writer who covered federal oversight and the workforce.

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