Rethinking Data Center Consolidation at Federal Agencies

Rick Antonucci_65x85by Rick Antonucci, Analyst

The Federal Government 3D Modern Interior of Server Roomhas been shifting from the ingrained idea of data center consolidation to data center optimization in an effort to continue to realize efficiencies and reduce costs. When OMB changed the definition of what constituted a data center a few years ago, the number of data centers to be closed dramatically increased from around 1,200 of 3,100 total, to over 7,000 total, making data center closure goals impossible to reach. As a result, we’ve seen a shift from a policy initially emphasizing closures to one that’s demanding increased efficiency out of existing facilities. These consolidation and optimization efforts are part of the government’s “cloud first” approach to reduce IT infrastructure through virtualization of hardware and software and hosting data in private or public clouds.

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Coming Next Week: Deltek’s FedFocus 2015

Rick Antonucci_65x85by Rick Antonucci, Analyst

Now that the end-of-fiscal-year selling season is over, planning time is upon us. As we prepare for our upcoming Government IT Sales Summit, we’re gathering information and insight from a number of other valuable events. One of those is Deltek’s FedFocus 2015 Event – Trends and Outlook for Government Contractors in the Next Year.

We agree with our friends at Deltek  that while modest growth has returned to the market, budgets continue to be challenged, forcing agencies to make hard decisions about which investments to pursue and which to shelve.  At the same time, major changes are taking place in the acquisition and contracting environment, including consolidation of GSA schedules and rule changes for small business contracting. Building a successful plan depends on having good data and good insight to make informed decisions.

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DOD RFI Invites Cloud Vendors into Federal Data Centers

Rick Antonucci_65x85

by Rick Antonucci, Analyst

Cloud Vendors into Federal Data CentersLast week DISA released a Request for Information exploring ways for cloud service providers (CSPs) to use DOD-owned data centers to provide private cloud services for the military. One option DISA is contemplating is allowing private providers to lease rack and server space in their data centers to provide the cloud services through their Data Center Leasing Model (DCLM). CSPs selected to provide these services would undergo the required security vetting necessary to operate inside DOD data centers.

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Office of the Secretary of Defense on the Hunt for a BPM Suite — RSVP by 4 p.m. Today for OSD’s Industry Day

Rick Antonucci_65x85by Rick Antonucci, Analyst

A new opportunity has sprung up for BPM manufacturers. The Office of the Secretary of Defense released a Sources Sought notice on FBO for a Business Process Management suite last Tuesday. OSD’s Program Development and Implementation office within the Defense Procurement & Acquisition Policy Office is interested in sourcing a COTS or GOTS BPM suite to support DOD procurement efforts. To that end they will be hosting an industry day in McLean, VA on September 19th with RSVPs due on the 16th with second industry day anticipated in mid to late October.

Right now OSD is looking to conduct market research to gather information from industry on available solutions for BPM suites with Full and Open competition anticipated down the line. Responses to the sources sought notice are due on September 26th.

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DCMA RFI Offers Enterprise Opportunities

Rick Antonucci_65x85by Rick Antonucci, Analyst

The Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) released an RFI for Legacy System Modernization earlier this month with a quickly approaching August 4th response date. The RFI seeks to obtain modernization of the Mechanization of Contract Administration Services (MOCAS) system. The system, which dates back to the 1950s, is an enterprise solution that provides contract management and disbursement and management of funds. It is 65% owned by DCMA and 35% owned by the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS).

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DRAS 2 Offers More COTS Sales Opportunities

Rick Antonucci_65x85By Rick Antonucci, Analyst

The Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) is soliciting a replacement to its outdated Defense Retiree Annuitant Service (DRAS) program. This will offer opportunities for COTS vendors to sell into DFAS.

PSBA - DFASSealDRAS is responsible for maintaining military pay account for the military’s retirees as well as former spouses and
survivor beneficiaries, but is in dire need of replacement. The Performance Work Statement states “DRAS is built on
antiquated mainframe technology dating back to 1980 that has exceeded the end of its planned lifecycle. The system is highly complex and many of the pay calculations and computations are difficult to understand and implement. DRAS consists of 2.3 million lines of custom COBOL code, 40 internal interfaces between subcomponents for data file transfers and over 220 external interfaces…”

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DOD Makes Life Easier for All by Going to Common Security Standards

Rick Antonucci_65x85By Rick Antonucci, Analyst

In early March DOD CIO Teri Takai announced a DOD Instruction Memo that DIACAP would be replaced with NIST Risk Management Framework (RMF) standards – now, instead of three standards, there is one security standard across the whole federal government. This has been in the pipeline for quite a while, but is just now becoming a reality. Now more vendors can offer solutions as the costs associated with complying with the additional security framework is eliminated. Systems Integrators will also benefit as they will have more options when providing solutions to the government.

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New Pentagon Health Record Procurement Offers IT Opportunities

Rick Antonucci_65x85By Rick Antonucci, Analyst

The Pentagon has released procurement information for their new Electronic Health Record (EHR) to be released by 2016 as part of the Defense Healthcare Management Systems Modernization (DHMSM) Program. The Draft RFP  has been released by SPAWAR and procures a replacement EHR for the Armed Forces Health Longitudinal Technology Application (AHLTA).

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Opportunities in the Air Force

Rick Antonucci_65x85By Rick Antonucci, Analyst

The U.S. Air Force is a vast and sprawling organization that relies heavily on technology due to its unique mission. The Air Force’s base budget request for FY14 is $114 billion – 4% higher than FY13’s request (although actual apportionment may differ, depending on the impending omnibus) and the IT budget request is roughly $5.5 billion. The Air Force will likely spend close to that – somewhere around $5.4 billion, which represents a 2% increase from FY13.

Unfortunately its organizational landscape can be complex and even confusing making it difficult to find out where key people and organizations controlling these purse strings reside. It’s important to remember that the Air Force component offices all have unique requirements gathered by representatives from the Air Staff or Air Force Secretariat for the benefit of shared systems that are leveraged across the department. These shared systems range from HR, financial, and logistics systems to those involving networks and infrastructure, operational command and control, as well as cybersecurity. Shared systems and investments such as DEAMS, IPPS, GCSS, and AFNET bring requirements together from multiple disparate component organizations, but are centrally managed.

Learn more as we take an in-depth look at Air Force IT insertion points on January 23 at 2:00 p.m. to gain insight into:

  • How the new omnibus budget could impact IT spending
  • How responsibilities have changed across Air Force organizations
  • How to craft effective messaging to address Air Force’s technology challenges
  • What major technology requirements to expect in FY14
  • Which programs represent actionable opportunities for the IT product community

Security Clearance Process Undergoing Review, Be Aware Opportunities Will Be Coming

Rick Antonucci_65x85By Rick Antonucci, Analyst

Due to the tragic Navy Yard Shooting in September, as well as the leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the DOD has been reviewing the process by which security clearances are awarded. More recently, a GAO report  revealed that thousands of government employees and contractors with delinquent tax debt hold security clearances. Over half are federal employees and owe approximately $85M in unpaid taxes. Consequently, a new program currently under development which allows for continuous checks of cleared personnel. The concept demo will run from April to December 2014 and will scan about 100,000 currently cleared personnel. IT vendors focusing on data analytics, databases, and identity and access management tools will have a play in the upcoming system.  

The GAO reported that part of the problem with the current process is inconsistent quality metrics throughout the clearance process and this has allowed people, such as Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis, to slip through the cracks. The GAO estimates that 87% of about 3,500 investigative reports that DOD adjudicators used to make clearance eligibility decisions were missing information. Right now there isn’t an automated, routine, way to identify anomalies in a clearance record.

Monitor closely the pilot effort that will be running next year and make sure to speak with the actual users of the clearance process, as well as those who are heading up the program, to make sure that you can raise awareness of your solution at both ends. And lastly, though it has been said before, don’t ask what the pain points are; know what they are and come prepared with a solution that will demonstrate your solution’s value. This is still a nebulous program in its beginning stages but be aware that there will be opportunities coming down the pike to support this overhaul of the security clearance process.

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