NASA wants to put Web services in agile-like cloud

NASA’s Office of the CIO is looking for contractors to improve management of its websites — primarily — and ancillary services including content management, search, and collaborative tools such as blogs and wikis.

The target environment for Web services is an “agile, cloud-based enterprise infrastructure” that provides the three cloud delivery models — infrastructure as a service, software as a service and platform as a service — according to a draft statement of work NASA issued Feb. 6. The Web infrastructure will service internal and public-facing applications and sites, using an interoperable, standards-based and secure environment, the document states.

Currently, each NASA center and its affiliated satellite facilities has its own Web infrastructure used internally for collaboration among the NASA workforce and external partners. And each mission publishes information to the public through its own auspices or websites. The different requirements for these services has resulted in a Web environment that is highly autonomous but inconsistent in terms of technology, management, security and information search capabilities, NASA officials said.

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Additionally, “cross-functional services such as enterprise search are unavailable and complex to implement. In spite of this large, fragmented Web presence, NASA’s main point of entry is,” according to the statement of work.

The goals of the Web Enterprise Services and Technology contract are to:

  • Provide Web services that meet the needs of NASA’s diverse Web community.
  • Improve current systems, provide technology refresh and apply industry best practices.
  • Improve agility in the adoption of tools and implementation of services.
  • Provide diversity of options while managing cost and scope.

By offering many choices, NASA OCIO will provide an incentive to the NASA community for using a shared-service model, NASA officials said.

The OCIO will also ensure that the selected tools adhere to a set of guiding principles and standards that meet the OCIO application and Web services goals. NASA will strive for vendor independence through the use of open-source software, officials said. NASA prefers commercial technology and open-source solutions over custom-built or proprietary ones, they said. All applications will have to expose their data and functionality through service interfaces.

At a minimum, the data access services provided should adhere to the Representational State Transfer architecture model. REST is a style of software architecture for distributed hypermedia systems such as the World Wide Web. Applications that require authentication will integrate with the agency’s authentication services.

All Web content development and Web application development will be done using other support contract vehicles.

Responses must be directed to Cedric Maurice Mitchener, contracting officer, phone number 301-286-6162; Fax: 301-286-0357; E-mail: [email protected], no later than 3:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on March 6.

The contracting office is NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA Headquarters Acquisition Branch, Code210.H, Greenbelt, MD 20771.

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.


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