EIS Paves Another Way for IT Modernization in Agencies
Published: August 09, 2017
The recently awarded Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) vehicle under GSA allows federal clients to obtain more than telecommunication and network services, helping in the quest to modernize agency IT infrastructure.
Practically two years after its solicitation release, the Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) vehicle has finally been awarded to 10 vendors. The $50B, five year base and two, five year option period, IDIQ contract seeks to provide telecommunication and network solutions to federal agencies and replace Networx, Washington Interagency Telecommunications System (WITS) 3 and various local telecommunication contracts. The following prime contracts were awarded on July 31, 2017:
- AT&T Corp.
- BT Federal Inc.
- Qwest Government Services d.b.a. Centurylink QGS
- Core Technologies, Inc.
- Granite Telecommunications, LLC
- Harris Corporation
- Level 3 Communications
- Manhattan Telecommunications
- Mircro Tech
Unlike its predecessors, EIS offers more than a telecommunication and network services platform. The vehicle is embedded with various other services and emerging technologies, paving just another way for customers to modernize their IT infrastructures. Cloud computing, cyber services, IOT capabilities and shared data center services are just some of the methods EIS encourages modernization.
Taking a deeper look into some of those technical services, EIS will offer cloud as Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and must be FedRAMP certified. According to the Statement of Work, these cloud services will support five characteristics; on demand self-service, broad network access, location independent resource pooling, rapid elasticity and measured service. Moreover, EIS will support four deployment models including, private, hybrid, community and public cloud. Utilization of cloud services under EIS will not only reduce hardware, infrastructure, and operational costs but will help agencies in changing and adopting to new technologies and operating system features and provide the flexibility and access to leading edge software, applications and tools.
The EIS solicitation entwines its services with security protection, requiring contractors to provide basic security for all network services, information, contractor infrastructure, and information processing resources against threats, attacks, or failures of systems in accordance with FISMA, DOD and Intelligence Community requirements. Moreover, the vehicle offers managed security services to provide a set of security tools and procedures against cyberattacks. This service will continuously monitor network devices and traffic, scan for vulnerabilities and enable a faster response to attacks – serving those agencies faced with a shortage of staff and resources in these areas.
In addition to providing more expanded and managed network architecture, EIS also helps agencies in managing data through other offerings such as shared data center services. Agencies can acquire co-located hosting services through EIS, giving it access to a scalable data center environment without undergoing large expenses and provides agencies the opportunity to host any needed content or services. What could all of this mean? More room for big data initiatives. For example, within an article in FedScoop, Timothy Quinn, associate CIO at USGS’ Office of Enterprise Information under Interior, states that EIS will be utilized by the department to gather more data from spot sensors and webcams for projects such as volcano temperature tracking.
According to the EIS program website, a full list of technical services offered by the vehicle includes:
In moving to EIS, agencies will have two transition methods, says Bill Zelinkski, deputy assistant commissioner for GSA FAS IT category management, cited in a FCW article. Agencies can either chose a “like for like” plan in which they simply move from one service on an existing contract to a similar service on EIS. Or, however, agencies have the opportunity to innovatively move forward through a “modernization” approach by taking inventory of basic network needs and allowing EIS vendors to formulate technological solutions for them. According to Bill Lewis from GSA’s FAS at a Federal Networks event in February 2017, $2.2B in network and communication services will need to transition to EIS by a March-May 2020 time frame.