NASA Reworks $1.5 Billion Data Center Contract

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NASA announced that it is reworking the agency’s strategy for acquiring an enterprise data center, and postponed the release of a final request for proposals for what could have been a $1.5 billion contract. Several reasons were cited for the change in plans, including leadership changes, new requirements regarding cloud computing, greening information technology, virtualization, and federal data center guidance. A new strategy and consolidation plan is expected to be completed fall 2010, and is estimated to incorporate all data centers, systems, applications and a full enterprise assessment.

On March 1st Federal CIO Vivek Kundra outlined plans for a major consolidation of 1,100 U.S. government data centers. A few days later NASA released a final solicitation for an estimated $2.5 billion contract to manage the agency’s PCs and mobile communications. Contractors have been working on RFP responses to the overall I3P (Information Technology Infrastructure Integration Program) IT consolidation project estimated at $4.3 billion.

The NASA Enterprise Data Center (NEDC) program is only one part of the five consolidation projects that make up the $4.3 billion total.  NASA noted that the new data center strategy and consolidation plan will significantly change and urged interested parties to check the NASA Business Opportunities web site later this fall.

Late last year the NASA Nebula cloud in a container was highlighted as an example of innovative government technology, built inside of a Verari FOREST container. Verari then regrouped earlier this year and company co-founder Dave Driggers prevailed in an auction of the company’s assets.

On April 15, 2010, President Barack Obama will visit Florida to host a White House Conference on the Administration’s new vision for America’s future in space. The President included an additional $6 billion for NASA in his FY2011 budget over the next five years.

It will be interesting to see the site selection for the consolidated data centers. With President Obama’s focus on Mars as a next destination, maybe a few container data centers dropped off would be the ideal place to process the data about the Red Planet.

About the Author

John Rath is a veteran IT professional and regular contributor at Data Center Knowledge. He has served many roles in the data center, including support, system administration, web development and facility management.

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