10 Companies Competing For $10 Billion Government Contract4:00 PM EST Wed. Sep. 04, 2013
The U.S. Department of the Interior is focusing on moving its infrastructure to the cloud and has chosen 10 IT companies to compete for a colossal $10 billion cloud computing project with an allocation of $1 billion per contract. The "indefinite deliver, indefinite quantity" (IDIQ) contract will allow vendors to provide a variety of services including cloud storage, secure file transfer, database hosting, Web hosting, development and testing, and virtual machine services over a 10-year period.
The 10 competing vendors selected by the department include Aquilent, AT&T, Autonomic Resources, CGI, Global Technology Resources Inc., IBM, Lockheed Martin, Smartronix, Unisys and Verizon Terremark.
Laurel, Md.-based Aquilent specializes in cloud computing and digital government technology solutions for the federal sector. Founded in 1979, Aquilent solely focuses on federal government work and is "cloud-agnostic."
"The DOI Foundation Cloud Hosting Services IDIQ is important to the federal government because it's the most comprehensive cloud vehicle that enables any agency to procure both cloud hosting and cloud services through a single contract to meet their specific needs, and at Aquilent, we applaud DOI for taking this landmark step in contracting," said Aquilent CTO Mark Pietrasanta. "This IDIQ provides maximum flexibility as the cloud landscape changes rapidly and is in line with Aquilent's strategic approach to the cloud, as a technology-agnostic broker for the leading cloud service providers and a trusted adviser to our federal customers."
Founded in 1983, AT&T, Dallas, will be competing to provide cloud hosting services. Familiar with government agencies, AT&T has worked with the Department of State, Department of Justice, Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration, IRS, Army, Navy and Air Force. With AT&T's focus on cloud, the telecom giant will provide end-to-end infrastructure to optimize resource availability, application performance, security, latency and other computing and networking variables.
Based in Cary, N.C., Autonomic Resources is a U.S government-only call service provider that specializes in IaaS, PaaS and a multicloud management platform. Founded in 2001, Autonomic Resources started out as a federal contractor and continued the business for 12 years as a traditional federal contractor offering application and infrastructure services primarily on premise. Autonomic Resources President and CEO John Keese (pictured) said his company offers government community IaaS and PaaS cloud offerings called the Autonomic Resources Cloud-Platform (ARC-P).
"Outside of GSA, this is the first major agency cloud initiative that's come to market; federal agencies are seriously looking at the adoption of cloud services," said Keese. "It's important because if you don't have these contracts you're missing a large component of your potential revenue pipeline for a decade. This contract is meaningful because it's a leveraging point for other contracts."
Founded in 1976, Montreal-based CGI has worked extensively with the U.S federal, state and local government to modernize their programs in automating and integrating data. CGI has worked with government agencies involved in defense and intelligence, health and human services, public safety and justice, tax, revenue and collection, space, agriculture, education and environment. With the Department of the Interior contract, CGI will support cloud hosting and data center consolidation, among other IT infrastructure tasks.
"Now organizations within DOI have access to a very flexible contract vehicle to help them easily procure infrastructure solutions that will cost-effectively and securely meet emerging needs and new challenges for many years to come," said Toni Townes-Whitley, senior vice president for civilian agency programs at CGI, in a statement.
Denver-based Global Technology Resources Inc. (GTRI) has been a systems integrator for both federal and state governments as well as large enterprises. Established in 1998, GTRI provides IT hardware, software, maintenance and consulting services and offers an enterprise-grade IaaS platform. According to Robert Berger, director of business development at GTRI, the cloud venture will benefit the government as a whole.
"The DOI has been going through an IT transformation strategy since 2009 and their goals were to consolidate all of their 500 data centers, trying to get it down below 200. Their infrastructure is so spread throughout the U.S., and this helps in that consolidation effort and allows them to be more efficient and secure," said Berger. "There is going to be the same amount of data hosted in fewer environments instead of multiple areas across the U.S., which helps them to be more secure. If you look at the IT transformation from private and public sector, this is the first true federal cloud initiative."
Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM already has been awarded one of the 10 contracts, worth $1 billion. According to Andy Maner, managing partner of U.S. Federal for IBM Global Services, IBM is in position to offer all seven of the IT task categories outlined by the contracts: storage, secure file transfer, virtual machine, database hosting, Web hosting, development and test environments, and SAP application hosting services.
"For us, we believe that cloud is more than just a word, it's a way of computing. Technology allows people to do things more efficiently but in order to take advantage you have to bring the whole life cycle to the table where you bring software, services, actual infrastructure, new capabilities, security," said Maner. "It's a real advantage for us because we bring a full stack of infrastructure, software, consulting, the facilities, and clearances and this contract provides a long-run vehicle [the department] can evolve over time, and the good news is that other agencies see this as an efficiently run vehicle and others will join."
Bethesda, Md.-based Lockheed Martin was founded in 1995 and specializes in global aerospace, defense, security and information technologies. For the U.S federal government, Lockheed Martin offers everything from biometrics to cybersecurity to health solutions and cloud computing. According to Paresh Majethia, deputy chief technology officer for Lockheed Martin, the company will provide the Department of the Interior with a series of services and solutions including data migration, security, and brokerage service in private, public and community clouds.
"There are two ways the DOI is going to gain; first is the technology renewal and capability from this [contract], reducing data centers and modernizing the infrastructure. Another benefit from the technology side and the acquisition side is that the contract is going to be another vehicle for the DOI to gain some revenue," said Majethia. "Lockheed Martin wants to be able to provide not just the infrastructure and platform, but to modernize application and improve their security."
Established in 1995, Hollywood, Md.-based Smartronix specializes in enterprise services over secure infrastructures, including physical data centers and now cloud infrastructure. According to Joe Gerczak (pictured), executive vice president and CFO, Smartronix has built, operated and secured large data centers mainly for the government, including the U.S. Marine Corps, Army, Navy and several federal civilian agencies. To Gerczak, one of the main focuses of this contract is lowering costs for the government.
"The DOI is on an aggressive path to centralize and make their IT operations more efficient, focusing on their mission instead of delivering IT services, and by leveraging companies like us to deliver cloud solutions," said Gerczak. "We're firm believers in the cloud marketplace; we believe it can really enhance the services provided to the government and really reduce the costs of government. It advances the business, and makes us feel good as people and taxpayers in lowering costs for the government."
Bluebell, Pa.-based Unisys specializes in application modernization and outsourcing, data center transformation and cloud services, end-user support services and security. According to Greg Gordon, vice president of federal systems, Unisys' platform uses a cloud brokerage model where the company has worked with cloud service providers that provide architecture, security and solutions.
"The key is that the DOI is in the middle of their IT strategic plan and the reality is moving the infrastructure to a 21st century service of reorganization," said Gordon. "We feel that it's a great opportunity for Unisys to become a provider for the Department of Interior and for all other federal agencies to take advantage of this."
A subsidiary of Verizon Communications, Miami-based Verizon Terremark offers infrastructure and cloud services in addition to co-location services, managed hosting, network and connectivity services, and application services among others. Verizon Terremark has worked with federal civilian and defense agencies, including the Department of the Interior, in providing a variety of networks, managed services and security for the agency. According to Susan Zeleniak, senior vice president for Verizon's public sector division, this contract will give Verizon Terremark the opportunity to provide cloud services to other agencies.
"If you think of cloud infrastructure where agencies do not have to build their own data centers, buy their own equipment, maintain a staff to upkeep it, it can take advantage of an infrastructure that is already built and buy it as they need it," said Zeleniak. "This contract is beneficial to the DOI because they can buy it as they need it."