GSA unveils first draft solicitation for its Ascend cloud program

The General Services Administration wants industry feedback on the pool that is geared toward the hyperscale cloud providers.

A draft solicitation is now out for the first part of the General Services Administration's new cloud computing program known as Ascend.

GSA has structured Ascend as a blanket purchase agreement with three pools and to be a single destination for government buyers of commercial cloud services.

The draft request for proposals released Friday covers pool one, which includes infrastructure-as-a-service and platform-as-a-service offerings. Pool two is focused on software-as-a-service products and pool three is for cloud-related professional services, including systems integration.

Only GSA Schedule holders are eligible to bid for a place on the BPA. All three pools will have multiple awardees.

Pool one's focus on infrastructure and the platform indicates that the global hyperscale cloud providers are the most likely bidders there. They will have to meet a wide range of cybersecurity requirements, plus be able to handle data that is either classified or unclassified but sensitive.

The pool one solicitation will several evaluation factors that bidders will have to clear, including whether or not they have FedRAMP certification. Bidders will also be evaluated on past performance, pricing and several technical evaluation factors.

The contract will run for up to eight years that begin with an initial three-year base period, followed by a single three-year option period and up to a pair of individual option years.

Comments on the draft are due May 17and GSA is eyeing this summer for the final solicitation's release.