Information Technology Update October 2008

Improving Integration, Security, and Efficiency of NASA’s Information Technology

When I gave you an Information Technology (IT) update last May, I described several strategic IT initiatives. Today, I’m focusing on one of them: improving integration, security, and efficiency of IT by consolidating infrastructure and management control.

As background, we now have a decentralized approach to managing much of our IT infrastructure, particularly for local area networks, data centers, IT security services, and Web services. Industry best practices, OMB analysis, NASA’s Program Analysis and Evaluation studies, and business cases from NASA’s Office of the Chief Information Officer have all indicated that there are significant efficiencies and advantages to consolidation and central management of NASA’s IT infrastructure. Achieving such strategic change, NASA expects to (1) better integrate the Agency’s people, processes, and information; (2) improve IT security; and (3) realize cost savings.

Currently, we have five Agency-wide procurements under way which, collectively, are a significant step toward NASA’s IT consolidation efforts. I’m pleased to report that in the first quarter of 2009, we will issue the draft requests for proposals (RFP) for these procurements, which are identified and assigned to Centers as follows:

Agency Consolidated End User Services (ACES)
NASA Shared Services Center at the Stennis Space Center

NASA Integrated Communications Services (NICS)
Marshall Space Flight Center

NASA Enterprise Data Center (NEDC) Services
Kennedy Space Center

Enterprise Applications Service Technologies (EAST)
Marshall Space Flight Center

Web Services Technologies (WEST)
NASA Headquarters

These five acquisitions will address NASA’s top-level initiatives for infrastructure integration. These initiatives are:

1. Define network perimeter and consolidate network management.

2. Establish Agency network visibility of IT assets and consolidate Agency security monitoring and management.

3. Enable cross-Center collaboration and strengthen user authorization.

4. Migrate systems to physically secure and properly managed data centers.

5. Make NASA’s information easier to find, access and share.

6. Standardize and consolidate the management of end-user devices.

    NASA’s IT infrastructure consolidation will mean some culture change at NASA, especially where we have operated independently in the past and need to work more collaboratively in the future. While it is generally easy to use IT services at a single Center, we intend to enable seamless collaboration across Centers by providing people with a common user experience regardless of location or organizational alignment. By providing tools such as a common help desk, an online catalog for ordering IT services, and an integrated Agency-wide network, NASA will transition to systems and data with modular, interoperable services that support the efficient execution of NASA’s missions. At the same time, we will secure NASA data and resources while we’re making them more readily available.

    In the future, we will be able to easily share data, using sophisticated collaboration tools without the awkward “workarounds” we experience today. It will also be even easier to work at a Center other than your own because we’ll have a common way to “plug into” NASA’s network.

    We will move systems to physically secure and properly managed data centers. Currently, NASA has approximately 75 data centers that are serviced by multiple vendors with inconsistent availability of information and disaster recovery services. Data center consolidation will significantly improve access to information and will reduce cost.

    NASA plans to approach the data center consolidation in phases. Consolidation will start with applications that need immediate improvement in disaster recovery and continuity of operations support, such as NOMAD, which is our e-mail and calendar tool. Follow-on activities will include Agency-wide applications [e.g., Integrated Enterprise Management Program (IEMP)], multi-Center applications, Center back office support, and program and project applications for which it makes technical, financial, and logical sense to consolidate.

    When these procurements are completed, we will have the following advantages.

    • Systems can be seamlessly deployed, used and secured across Center boundaries.
    • Smarter investments in the right IT solutions provide the greatest benefit to the NASA mission.
    • We’ll have a reliable, efficient, secure, and well-managed IT infrastructure that enables NASA’s mission.

    In closing, I want to thank the NASA employees who are working on the acquisition teams. Thanks to their efforts, we should have new contracts in place by early 2010 and be on our way to consolidating NASA’s IT infrastructure.