Is This A Different Kind of Contract?

Rebecca Carroll | | August 1, 2014

A few days before a report reamed Obamacare officials for poor contracting practices, the government announced another cloud computing procurement for -- this one based on lessons learned, it said.   In some ways, the contract looks like those that have come before -- the follow-ons, scope expansions and re-ups that have run the federal health insurance marketplace website’s price tag to nearly $1 billion so far.  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services wanted to expand the capacity of a hosting contract with Terremark, Verizon’s cloud division, which had already more than quintupled in price.  

The most recent Terremark re-up earlier this year “was intended to be a short-term bridge while CMS transitions this work to the competitively awarded HP Enterprise Services Virtual Data Center task order by Sept. 1, 2014,” procurement documents said. But the bridge keeps getting extended.  “CMS has elected to continue to utilize the Verizon Terremark Data Center as the primary site for … hosting services through the open enrollment 2015 period,” the agency said this week.

CMS spokesman Aaron Albright told Nextgov the agency has decided to use three data cloud services, assigning each with specific responsibilities.  “Based on our lessons learned, we have instituted a plan to better manage peak traffic, while providing greater flexibility and scalability within the system,” he said.  Under the new plan, HP will host staging and other test environments for the federal marketplace -- which serves residents in states that chose not to create their own marketplace...