This notice of intent is not a request for competitive proposals. This notice functions as a RFI for offeror's who can provide relevant input to assist the U.S. ARL with their mission and mitigate deficiencies within and among the team(s) implementing the technical solutions.
The U.S. ARL intends to implement Self Service capabilities, Cloud Adoption,Service Catalog, Enterprise Network Infrastructure Modernization, Asset Management, and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) at ARL facilities.
ARL is currently operating computer data centers at three (3) main locationssupporting approximately 3500 researchers and support staff across five (5) major sites and many distributed smaller locations processing unclassified and classified data. These researchers are using various configurations of desktop and laptop computers in conducting research, which are connected over high-speed networks to various servers and storage systems across the distributed data centers. The end-user computers run various operating systems, including Microsoft Windows 10, Red Hat Linux 7 (5 and 6 as well until April 2018), MAC OS, and exploring options to offer additional Linux versions such as Ubuntu. Researchers also use a number of applications on these end-user computers, including the Microsoft Office suite, Adobe applications, MatLAB, Kaleidograph, AutoCAD, Labview, ChemDraw, EndNote, CREO, Ensight, FEKO, LS-DYNA and Multivariate Statistical Analysis (MSA). Researchers also access hundreds of servers in data centers while conducting research, using a variety of modelling and homegrown applications and scientific visualization capabilities to generate, analyze and report data, as wellas manage externally connected sensors and control hardware. Approximately 1.3PBs of data storage is currently being used, with an approximate 23% annual growth rate. A small subset of researchers and systems are on logically separated networks which change over time as needs warrant.
ARL is exploring technology solutions to modernize its IT approach and enable researchers by providing a more robust and dynamic computing environment.
The current approach has a number of issues that the organization seeks to resolve. There is a high variability in end-user computer types due to the different needs of researchers - some have powerful desktops with multiple Central Processing Units (CPU), a large amount of memory and storage, and Graphics Processing Units (GPU) in order to run highly-compute intensive modeling and data analysis operations. Researchers use various non-standard applications requiring manual installation/patching/upgrades. In the data centers, a large number of systems operate a single Operating System (OS) and supporting services that researchers access, with systems experiencing peak utilization for some periods and near-zero utilization at other periods, rendering a large amount of compute power underutilized. Storage area networks are becoming saturated at each major site, cannot easily replicate/back up to other sites or provide scalability between sites, and cannot be easily accessed across internal organizational boundaries Theunderlying network architecture, while robust, is not as flexible as needed to meet increasingly quickly changing research requirements. It is believed that the costs of operating this traditional environment can be decreased if utilization efficiencies can be improved and the overall architecture can be simplified.
In consideration of a new approach, the ARL is considering a new computing/storage environment that is more flexible, able to dynamically expand and contract services, provides better services at lower costs, supports end-user self-service where possible, and permits the IT team easier management of systems, end-user clients, and applications. The new approach needs to ensure system administration, patching/upgrading, system and data security and backups can be accomplished more easily, as well as remotely and/or automatically where possible. The new approach should provide flexible capabilities to build and modify logical networks and their connected capabilities to quickly respond to changing research requirements. In support of this new approach, robust issue identification, change implementation and tracking/reporting capabilities are paramount. It is believed that this new approach of utilizing cloud computing (hybrid private/public),virtualization at various levels (OS, clients, applications, and networking), and self-service capabilities are necessary to fully modernize the current IT environment and enhance services to our research community.
The U.S. ARL seeks industry input on the applicability of the below seven (7) areas being explored, their applicability to the desired end state of improving end-user customer experience and organizational efficiency, and other approaches, technologies, or best practices ARL should consider:
1. Creating a "private cloud" environment that is scalable to meet mission needs as they change;
2. Designing and using an environment that utilizes Virtual Machines (VM) and containers in the data center;
3. Using VDIto increase end-user flexibility while easing end-user client support burdens;
4. Using application virtualization or other methods to ease applicationmanagement/patching burdens;
5. Implementing capabilities for end-user self-service for compute/memory/storage/applications, perhaps including IT Service Catalog(s);
6. Full lifecycle asset management; and
7. The use of hybrid private/public cloud capabilities.
Submission Guidelines: Interested industry vendors can submit a maximum of ten (10) pages of input by the response date outlining solutions, potential cost savings, skillsets that should be considered, and best practices that ARL can consider to meet the initiatives identified under the requirements section.
The maximum page limit should include all appendices with the organization name, address, website, and size of ownership for the organization. Documents should be submitted in Microsoft Office format or as a portable document format (".pdf") file. If proprietary or copyrighted information is submitted, please include a statement authorizing the Government to copy and use it within the Government for comparison purposes. Appropriately marked proprietary information will beproperly protected by the U.S. Government. Classified information should be submitted only if it significantly clarifies or broadens the scope of technology considered.
THERE IS NO SOLICITATION AT THIS TIME. This RFI does not commit the Government to contract for any supply or service. Further, the Army at this time, is notseeking proposals and will not accept unsolicited proposals. Responders are advised that the U.S. Government will not pay for any information or administrativecosts incurred in response to this RFI; all costs associated with responding tothis RFI will be solely at the interested party's expense. Not responding to this RFI does not preclude participation in any future RFP, if any is issued. If asolicitation is released, it will be synopsized on the Federal Business Opportunities (FedBizOpps) website. Therefore it is the responsibility of the potentialofferors to monitor these sites for additional information pertaining to this requirement.
Responses to this notice are due on or before 13 March 2018 by 3:00pm EST byemail at Jessica.email@example.com
Point of Contact for this notice is Jessica Camunez, Jessica.firstname.lastname@example.org