Bid Protest Firestorm Over Defense Information Systems Agency's Sole-Source RFP for VMWare
Posted By The Federal Practice Group Worldwide Service || 21-Jan-2015
Recently the Defense Information Systems Agency (“DISA”) issued a sole-source Request for Proposals (“RFP”) to VMWare covering thousands of DISA’s licensing agreements with server-virtualization giant VMWare. DISA’s justification for the sole-source RFP seemed to be based in logic and efficiency. DISA said that it has more than two million VMWare licenses procured through more than 9,270 separate procurement transactions over the past five years. DISA said that it is attempting to reduce the administration of these millions of licenses spread across the thousands of procurements.
"VMWare software is fully implemented and integrated into the DoD's architecture and has been for more than 11 years. VMWare has become the architectural standard…. The continued brand-name software support is required in order to maintain uniformity, common troubleshooting and service techniques. Given the proprietary nature of software code, it would not be possible for another brand of software to provide software support for the current VMWare license inventory."
What has raised the hackles of some of the largest cloud service providers, including Amazon Web Services and Citrix, is what is also included in the procurement: VMWare software for desktop-as-a-service, desktop virtualization, virtual storage and more. Several companies have claimed that the RFP is actually an improper sole-source request that would give VMWare an unfair advantage and stifle competition.
Bid protests have been filed with the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) by Amazon, Citrix, and many others. GAO has one hundred days from the date the protests were filed to render a decision. However, in the meantime DISA could retract the RFP and amend it in response to the concerns laid out in the bid protests. It remains to be seen what the outcome will be.
Government contracting is a competitive business governed extensively by the Federal Acquisition Regulations (“FAR”). While the FAR is designed to promote efficiency and accountability in government purchasing, sometimes by design or inadvertence a situation arises during a procurement that tilts the playing field unfairly. In those cases, it is essential to have an experienced government contracts attorney fighting for you. There are remedies available under the FAR that can level the playing field and in some cases stop the procurement entirely until the defects are remedied.
The government contracts attorneys at The Federal Practice Group Worldwide Service are knowledgeable about the requirements of the FAR and how they apply in real life. They have fought for government contractors in the United States and abroad, working to make sure that their clients are afforded the treatment to which they are entitled under the FAR.
If your company is in a government procurement currently or has been involved in a government procurement that you believe proceeded unfairly, contact the experienced government contracts attorneys at The Federal Practice Group Worldwide Service today for a case evaluation.