Breaking News | NSA outsources IT work | GCN

For the first time, the National Security Agency has awarded a contract to outsource
its systems operations.


Under its NSA Breakthrough Program, the agency awarded Computer Sciences Corp. a
five-year, $20 million contract to maintain its computers and provide software
enhancements, configuration management, installations, and hardware and software upgrades.


More than 50 CSC software engineers and computer specialists will handle the project
from CSC’s Maryland Intelligence Center in Hanover, Md. CSC subcontractors include
Data Procurement Corp. of Gaithersburg, Md., and Data Computer Corp. of America of
Ellicott City, Md.


CSC is also offering incentives to Defense Department employees willing to leave
government service to work for the company.


The Customs Service has begun testing the fixes it made to mainframe date code.


Customs paid $460,000 for CCD Online Systems Inc.’s Beyond 1999/Validate package,
including consulting, training and maintenance for one year, said Paul Craig, vice
president and chief financial officer at CCD Online Systems of Arcadia, Calif.


Beyond 2000/Validate tests primarily Cobol and PL/1 mainframe applications, Craig said.
Customs bought it through the National Institutes of Health Electronic Computer Store II
contract held by Daly Computers Inc. of Gaithersburg, Md.


Contact CCD Online Systems at 626-821-0188.


Micron Electronics Inc. and Tangent Computer Inc. are the latest vendors to join the
rush to sell four-way Pentium II Xeon servers.


Micron of Nampa, Idaho, and Tangent of Burlingame, Calif., both build enterprise models
around Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 and provide their own switch-over technology for
failed components.


Micron’s NetFrame 6201 starts around $6,000 with one 400-MHz Xeon processor, 128M
of RAM and a 4G Ultra 2 Wide low-voltage-differential SCSI drive. The NetFrame 6200,
priced from $7,199, adds to those features a 10-user NT 4.0 license plus support for three
incidents during the first year. The company is seeking federal partners to beta-test NT
Server 5.0 on the NetFrame.


Tangent’s Enterprise NX-Q server starts at $11,995 with dual 400-MHz Xeon CPUs,
256M of RAM, 512K Level 2 cache, three 9G low-voltage-differential drives, 32X CD-ROM
drive, 17-inch monitor and NT 4.0. It carries a three-year warranty; lifetime toll-free
support is included.


Contact Micron at 800-438-3343 and Tangent at 888-826-4368.


The Defense Information Systems Agency has made video services part of the Global Fiber
Initiative.


VStor network products from Optivision Inc. of Palo Alto, Calif., will record, store
and distribute video at rates up to 16 Mbps for Defense Department users. DISA will
provide the service, DOD users the content, DISA officials said.


The Global Fiber Initiative relies on public fiber networks for high-speed
connectivity. “What we want to do is provide information to the user on his
schedule,” said Bruce T. Bennett, a DISA electronics engineer.


The VStor 150 video recorder and player use Motion Picture Experts Group 2 compression.
They work with a PC running Optivision’s mpegStudio Pro software to push or pull
MPEG-2 video over IP networks.


Microsoft Windows 98 is not without its own set of date flaws, Microsoft Corp. last
week said of its newest operating system.


The problem can strike in any year and is unrelated to year 2000 problems. The company
said Win98 is year 2000-ready.


The bug, reported earlier this month by the British company Prove It 2000, occurs only
when a PC is rebooted in the last seconds before midnight on Dec. 31. Win98 jumps ahead
two days or backward one, so on Jan. 1, the PC thinks it’s either Dec. 30 or Jan. 2.


Some government users have said they are considering upgrades to Win98 because of date
code concerns. Win98 is the only Microsoft OS that does not require patches to be
2000-ready. Microsoft has made Windows 95 and Windows NT patches available on its Web site
at http://www.microsoft.com/year2000.


The company will post a fix for the Win98 date code glitch on the Web at http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com


If the tools vendors are right, programmers before long will be assembling applications
rather than programming in any traditional sense.


Bill Coleman, chairman and chief executive of BEA Systems Inc. of Sunnyvale, Calif.,
told government programmers at Software Development ’98 that object-based transaction
monitoring systems would change the world as they know it.


Last week’s conference in Washington, with its focus on applications built on top
of a Common Object Request Broker Architecture, featured the CORBA tool vendors BEA
Systems, Iona Technologies Inc. of Cambridge, Mass., IBM Corp., Inprise Corp. and others.


Richard Soley, chairman and chief executive of the Object Management Group of
Framingham, Mass., said component application programming is about at the stage where
TCP/IP was in the mid-1980s but is progressing rapidly. OMG manages the publicly developed
CORBA interface specifications.


Sterling Software Inc. of Dallas will soon offer application development tools that
apply pattern-based assembly to prebuilt software components.


The new capabilities derive from Sterling’s recent acquisition of tools from Synon
Corp. of Larkspur, Calif., and a $1.6 million Advanced Technology Project research award
from the National Institute of Standards and Technology.


Sterling officials said their recent work would bring the best attributes of packaged
applications and custom application software to Sterling’s native code-generating
COOL:Plex and other tools for IBM MVS, OS/400, OS/2, Unix and Microsoft Windows NT.


“What we generate will sit on top of standard object request brokers and
middleware,” said Michael Ehling, product marketing manager for Sterling
Software’s COOL products.


Because there is no standard ORB for OS/400 yet, Sterling will generate the middleware,
he said.


Contact Sterling Software at 972-801-6000.


The Senate has confirmed Neal F. Lane as the next director of the Office of Science and
Technology Policy.


As part of this job, Lane will advise the president on science and technology issues.
OSTP coordinates policies for science, space and technology programs, such as
governmentwide encryption efforts, the Next Generation Internet and the International
Space Station.


Lane had been director of the National Science Foundation since October 1993. He took
his post as OSTP director after the Senate approved his confirmation on July 31.


Lane received bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees in physics from the
University of Oklahoma.


 —Michael Cheek, Florence Olsen,Christopher J. Dorobek, Gregory
Slabodkin, Bill Murray, Susan M. Menke and William Jackson



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