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Comparing Cloud Requirements DISA SETI vs. Encore III

Published: August 17, 2016

Cloud ComputingContract AwardsDISAInformation Technology

DISA is in the middle of competing spots on two new contract vehicles that both have cloud engineering requirements. What are the differences between them?

Back in 2015, after representatives from the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) announced they would be competing contracts for Systems Engineering and Technical Innovation (SETI), industry wondered aloud what the difference between those contracts and the next generation of Encore III contracts would be. SETI, DISA explained, would be primarily concerned with providing engineering services for so-called “emerging technologies” like cloud computing, big data, and software-defined networking. Encore III, by contrast, would be for providing routine IT professional and engineering services. This squishy differentiation proved confusing enough to significantly delay the release of both solicitations. Indeed, industry is still waiting for the SETI request for proposals to be released and Encore III is mired in the aftermath of numerous protests over DISA’s use of lowest-price, technically acceptable evaluation methods for complex engineering services.

With Encore III now in extra innings, vendors can turn their attention fully to competing for SETI contracts. The question of effort overlap remains, however, so in an effort to clear up the confusion as far as cloud engineering is concerned I submit the following comparison of the requirements listed in both the SETI draft performance work statement (PWS) and Encore III PWS.

As we can see from the table above, ten types of cloud services are listed, most of which are identified in the SETI and Encore III documentation. The lone exception is hosting services, which appears in neither SETI nor Encore III. I’ve included those services here to suggest that based on my reading of the two PWS’, SETI and Encore III vendors will not be asked to host applications in the cloud. These are cloud engineering services contracts. Hosting services will be provided by the vendors who win spots on the newly expanded milCloud 2.0 effort, so vendors ought to bid accordingly.

Those considering competing for SETI, as well as those who responded to the Encore III solicitation, should be warned that that the requirements in both documents are vaguely worded, so the categorization of certain requirements as “yes,” they are included in SETI, but “no” they are not included in Encore III, should be considered advisory at best. For example, services like readiness assessment are not called out in the SETI draft PWS, but they could easily be included as part of application migration efforts or engineering applications for the cloud.

As for the remaining nine requirements, Encore III vendors will provide services in eight of those areas, the lone exception being the development of cloud standards. SETI vendors will provide support in five of the remaining ten services areas, but not in cloud brokering, automated service provisioning, systems administration, or readiness assessments, although the latter may not be the case, as discussed above.

In conclusion, when it comes to cloud engineering services, some overlap remains between SETI and Encore III. There are enough dissimilarities, however, to differentiate between the two vehicles. So, vendors with cloud engineering capabilities who may not have won a spot on Encore III may want to consider bidding on SETI.