Defense IT

DISA's $1.6B deal with VMWare on hold after protests

The Defense Information Systems Agency has put a hold on a proposed $1.6 billion joint enterprise licensing agreement with VMWare, following a wave of protests from other vendors.

DISA sought the agreement as a way to consolidate its agreements with VMWare into one agreement as a way to save money. When it issued its solicitation Feb. 9, the agency said only VMWare or one of its authorized resellers could bid on it.

But since then, four companies—Amazon Web Services, Citrix, Minburn Technology Group and Nutanix—have filed protests with the Government Accountability Office , claiming the agreement gives VMWare an unfair advantage. On Feb. 19, DISA said it was suspending responses to the solicitation to give it time to answer all the questions raised by other companies.

As Nick Wakeman writes at Washington Technology, DISA has been pursuing joint enterprise licensing agreements, or JELAs, in a number of areas as a way to cut costs and simplify its contracting agreements. Reaching a JELA with VMWare, the leading provider of server virtualization software, would seem logical. However, the deal also would give VMWare agreements for desktop and storage services that other vendors could compete for, which led to the claims of a competitive disadvantage.

For now, DISA can field questions and accept proposals, but could not make an award until GOA issues a ruling on the protests, which would be due June 1. Or, DISA could withdraw the solicitation and resubmit a refined version.

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