Status Report

NASA JPL Server Consolidation and Virtualization Assessment Request for Information

By SpaceRef Editor
May 8, 2008
Filed under , ,

Synopsis – May 08, 2008

General Information

Solicitation Number: DH-08-03
Posted Date: May 08, 2008
FedBizOpps Posted Date: May 08, 2008
Original Response Date: Jun 05, 2008
Current Response Date: Jun 05, 2008
Classification Code: D — Information technology services, incl. telecom services
NAICS Code: 541512 – Computer Systems Design Services

Contracting Office Address

4800 Oak Grove Drive, Mail Stop 190-205, Pasadena, California 91109-8099


The California Institute of Technology’s (Caltech) Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), operating under a prime contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), is seeking the interest of potential sources for IT server consolidation and virtualization services.

BACKGROUND: JPL has an inventory of about 19,000 computers, ranging from Windows and Macintosh desktops, to 1,000 node compute clusters. Of these 19,000 computers, about 5,600 are computer servers performing a wide variety of computing tasks. The space requirements of this diverse server population are exceeding JPL’s capacity, and plans to add many new computing capabilities over the next few years means that the Lab needs to consolidate its computing footprint both through hardware consolidation, as well as the use of virtualization tools.

REQUEST FOR INFORMATION: This Request For Information (RFI) proposes to obtain releasable information from major providers of IT consolidation and virtualization services regarding their direct experience with providing successful server consolidation and virtualization assessments, consulting and services to private companies and/or government agencies similar and size and complexity to JPL. The consolidated information received will be considered in determining JPL’s approach to IT consolidation and virtualization, including whether JPL could realize advantages in cost or service by procuring these services instead of self-providing.

The Laboratory respectfully requests a direct but concise response to each of the following key tasks and how your company is fully qualified to successfully execute them, keeping in mind the eventual purpose is to review the Lab’s computing environment to assess the potential for virtualization, and to make suggestions on the most effective path to achieving that potential.

TASK 1 – Review the computing environment. JPL has an inventory of about 19,000 computers, ranging from individual laptops to large compute clusters. There are a number of data sources that describe this inventory, among them the Property Data Base, and the IT Security Data Base. This task is to review each of the data sources to quickly cull those machines that are: (a) servers; and (b) are likely to be of an age and type that will make them suitable for consolidation or virtualization. In addition, there will be a physical component to the consolidation, and during this review, estimates must be made of the physical dimensions and “rackability” of the identified equipment.

This task must be performed in conjunction with the staff responsible for these machines. Attention must be paid to the applications being run, the expected lifetime of the software (and the mission) supported by the application.

TASK 2 – Select scenarios. Based on the results of Task 1, define a series of representative scenarios that will “bin” the Lab’s computers into similar types for analysis purposes. For example, there are workstation class computers that run flight software, while other machines run COTS database software such as MySQL or Oracle. There are large supercomputers, and hundreds of departmental application systems running both COTS and custom software. Since the time and cost to investigate each machine separately is prohibitive, sample scenarios will be used to explore the level of virtualization that is achievable. If analysis software is to be used during the Investigation, the issues of deploying this software will be addressed at this stage, along with the permission of the owners of these systems to run the analysis software.

TASK 3 – Investigate scenarios for their virtualization potential. Through interviews, the use of analysis tools, or other techniques, the scenarios outlined in Task 2, will be investigated and consolidation and virtualization opportunities identified. For example, analysis software may be appropriate for investigating COTS applications, but configuration controlled flight systems will probably need to be examined through interviews with system administrators. Expectations on the amount of consolidation and virtualization that can be achieved will be set during this task, as well as the barriers preventing the use of consolidation and virtualization techniques.

TASK 4 – Consolidate results of scenario analysis in Task 3. When Task 3 is complete, the scenario analyses will be consolidated to provide an estimate of the overall consolidation and virtualization potential across the Lab. This estimate will include estimates of the required physical resources (rack space, investment in new machines and software) as well as the software investments required, and in the labor required.

TASK 5 – Recommend implementation approaches for JPL. Based on the consultant’s experience with other organizations, recommend approaches for JPL to achieve its virtualization potential. These approaches may include organization changes, investments in equipment and software, and investments in continuing specialized expertise during the conversion process.

TASK 6 – Conduct a pilot virtualization exercise with JPL staff. With the help of JPL staff, select a candidate suite of applications and virtualize them onto a single server. The purpose of this task is to identify technical and programmatic barriers to virtualization at JPL, and to educate JPL management and staff on virtualization best practices.

RESPONSE DEADLINE: Please submit your response in accordance with the above information to JPL no later than June 5, 2008.

POINTS OF CONTACT: Please direct any questions to Dennis Horgan, Email:; Phone: 818-393-0667 or Douglas Hughes, Email:; Phone 818-354-1186.

DISCLAIMER: It is emphasized that the requested information is for preliminary planning purposes only and does not constitute a commitment, implied or otherwise, that JPL will solicit you for such procurement in the future. Neither JPL nor the Government will be responsible for any costs incurred by you in furnishing this information. Prospective contractors are advised that any information provided shall be deemed to be furnished with unlimited rights to JPL, with JPL assuming no liability for the disclosure, use, or reproduction of such data.

Point of Contact

Name: Mary Helen Ruiz
Title: JPL Business Opportunities Office
Phone: 818-354-7532
Fax: 818-393-1746

SpaceRef staff editor.