GSA's plan for one-stop cloud shop takes further shape / Sullasart Somdok

The General Services Administration wants to bring in the entire ecosystem of companies involved in cloud computing, meaning more than just the hyperscale providers.

The General Services Administration has opted to take a multiple-pool approach for its planned commercial cloud contract that the agency is designing to be a one-stop shop for federal agencies.

GSA on Wednesday released a pair of sources sought notices for two out of three pools in the multiple-award blanket purchase agreements known collectively as Ascend, which the agency first unveiled to the market in 2022.

With this more federated approach, GSA appears to be widening the scope of companies it is interested in hearing from. The global hyperscale providers, systems integrators, software vendors and other providers of services wrapped around cloud environments are being encouraged to take note of Ascend.

Ascend's purpose is to help agencies further simplify and standardize how they acquire cloud products and services, plus streamline how federal customers and contractors alike navigate complex security and data ownership requirements.

The requests for information released Wednesday pertain to Pool 2 and Pool 3 of Ascend with responses to both due before midnight Eastern time on March 29. GSA will only accept responses submitted via a market research-as-a-service questionnaire that is included alongside the RFIs.

Pool 2 largely centers around the acquisition of software-as-a-service solutions that include office productivity suites, customer relationship management tools, and other offerings for IT service and asset management functions.

Pool 3 focuses on professional services that include application rationalization, multi-cloud management, and cloud migration and operations.

The nature of Pool 1 is simple: GSA will acquire commercial cloud infrastructure- and platform-as-a-service offerings of both a classified and unclassified nature. That indicates the pool is geared toward the global hyperscale cloud providers.

A transcript of GSA's Feb. 8 Ascend Industry Day event indicates that the agency expects to release Pool 1's final solicitation this summer, but has not determined how many awards it plans to make.

Pool 1's period of performance will be for up to eight years that start with an initial three-year base, followed by a three-year option and then a pair of one-year options.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been updated to include a link to GSA's documentation on Pool 1 of Ascend)