May 27, 2011 (10:05 AM EDT)
GSA Seeks Cloud-Based IT Management Tools

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The General Services Administration (GSA), the first federal agency to take its email to the cloud, now wants to move enterprise IT management in that direction as well.

The GSA has released a request for information (RFI) seeking a cloud-based approach for its existing in-house enterprise management system, which is becoming unwieldy to manage, according to the RFI, which is posted on FedBizOpps.gov.

"The applications eliminate data redundancy, increase reporting capabilities, and provides a seamless integration, but [the system] has become increasingly difficult for the GSA in-house service provider to stay current with software updates and major application releases," according to the RFP.

The GSA Office of the CIO oversees the architecture of the current system, which is based on a common database and modular software design. The system handles management control across the GSA enterprise by integrating and automating the management of IT applications, databases, networks, security, storage, and systems across departments and disciplines.

The GSA is seeking a software as a service (SaaS) provider that can meet the requirements of a sizeable task list and do so by the end of the year, hoping for a new system by December, according to the RFI.

The cloud-based enterprise management system must provide service desk, asset management, client management, network service monitoring, and system management tools, among others. The agency lays out specific needs for each of these categories of functionality in its RFI.

In December U.S. CIO Vivek Kundra issued a cloud first mandate for federal agencies, requiring they consider the cloud first when planning new technology projects in order to achieve cost savings and other benefits taking software and hardware off-premise provides. The move has spurred the GSA, which manages public buildings and provides goods and services to other agencies, as well as the agencies it serves to plan new cloud projects.

The GSA said it was moving its in-house email system to the cloud a year ago, and since then other agencies like the Department of Agriculture and the Army have followed suit. It also recently issued a solicitation for cloud email, cloud office automation services--such as word processing and spreadsheets--and cloud-based records management services that will be worth up to $2.5 billion over five years.

In the new, all-digital issue of InformationWeek Government: More than half of federal agencies will use cloud computing within 12 months, our new survey finds. Security, ROI, and management challenges await them. Download it now. (Free registration required.)