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Interior Cloud Services Contract Gets Go Ahead After Protest


The comptroller general’s office has denied a federal contractor's protest, clearing the way for the Interior Department to purchase a slate of cloud-based services including cloud storage and application hosting.

This is Interior’s second major cloud acquisition to be delayed by a vendor protest.

The government technology vendor Qwest Government Services challenged the June 2012 solicitation for foundation cloud hosting services arguing the goods and services Interior described were too vague and that the terms of the proposed contracts imposed too much risk on vendors.

The Comptroller General’s March 7 decision found Interior had provided adequate information for vendors to compete for the cloud hosting contracts. It also found the agency was under no obligation to ensure its eventual contracts limited risk for vendors. The decision was released publicly Tuesday.

“The mere presence of risk in a solicitation does not make the solicitation inappropriate or improper,” the Government Accountability Office decision sad. “It is within the administrative discretion of an agency to offer for competition a proposed contract that imposes maximum risks on the contractor and minimum burden on the agency, and an offeror should account for this in formulating its proposal.”

Interior’s solicitation envisioned one or more indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contracts for cloud services that could last through the year 2022. The services included: cloud storage, secure file transfer, and virtual machine, database and Web hosting.

The solicitation was envisioned as a “one-stop shop for all DoI’s outside, contractor-supplied, hosting,” Interior Chief Information Officer Bernard Mazer told Government Computer News in July. 

The solicitation was part of a governmentwide program to move as much of the government’s computing as possible to offsite computer clouds rather than government-owned data centers. The government may eventually save as much as one-fourth of its $80 billion annual information technology bill by using cloud services, the Office of Management and Budget has predicted.

A $35 million contract to move Interior to a cloud email system was delayed for more than a year by a legal squabble between vendors representing Google and Microsoft systems. The contract for 90,000 email users ultimately went to Onix Networking, which offers the Google Apps for Government system. 

(Image via winui/

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