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Solicitation Number: ST-1330-14-RP-0039
Agency: Department of Commerce
Office: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
Location: Acquisition and Grants Office
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Sources Sought
Added: Feb 21, 2014 1:45 pm
This is a request for information (RFI) only, and is not a solicitation for a contract or grant award. This RFI notice is for information purposes only, is not a request for proposals, and does not obligate the government in any way. The Government will not reimburse the respondents for any costs associated with the information submitted in response to this request. The Government will treat each submission as confidential.

The Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) is requesting information from industry and other organizations (e.g., non-profits, research laboratories, and universities) to determine whether capability and interest exists for establishing partnerships with NOAA for the purpose of intelligently positioning NOAA's vast data holdings in the cloud, to be co-located with easy and affordable access to computing, storage, and advanced analytical capabilities. NOAA anticipates these partnerships will have the ability to rapidly scale and surge; thus, removing government infrastructure as a bottleneck to the pace of American innovation and enabling new value-added services and unimaginable integration into our daily lives.

Only a small percentage of NOAA's data is posted on public servers and web sites. In many cases these data are hosted to multiple public servers, which may not use the same standard services and formats. Therefore, it is difficult to find and integrate data from these sources for cross-domain analysis and decision-making. Furthermore, NOAA's large data volumes require users to have substantial network, storage, and computing capabilities of their own in order to interact with and exploit the value of this data. NOAA is exploring opportunities to unleash the potential of its environmental data through alternative approaches to strategically position this data with analytic and computational capabilities.

A vibrant private sector participating in the development and delivery of weather; water; and climate data, products, and services to the public is of value to the U.S. economy and environmental awareness. Through expanded partnerships with private sector and other enterprise partners, the potential exists to develop and market enhanced products and services to the Nation. NOAA is looking for partners to incite creative uses and innovative approaches that will tap the full potential of its data, spur economic growth, help more entrepreneurs launch businesses, and to create new jobs.

Purpose of this Request for Information (RFI)
This RFI is intended to inform NOAA on the current status of industry sources, business practices, technical capacity, and operational capability. Furthermore, this RFI is intended to inform NOAA on the feasibility of partnering with one or more industry partners using no-cost agreements. These partners would be responsible for funding all costs related to the movement of data to the cloud as well as their own technology infrastructure, data management, data services, data security, and free data access to users. While this mode of delivery protects NOAA from the cost of provisioning additional infrastructure, it will require careful thought and controls to ensure NOAA's existing services are not impacted and NOAA remains compliant with statutory regulations. This mode of delivery should also provide the appropriate documentation and attribution of NOAA data. NOAA does not intend to use these partnerships as a replacement for existing services. NOAA will remain responsible for retaining and maintaining the scientific stewardship of any data provided to industry partners. The expectation is that all NOAA data moved to the cloud would remain free to the public in its original, unaltered form, but this model will enable the private sector to establish and perhaps charge for new value-added services and products. A proposed solution must also enable NOAA compliance with Presidential Executive Order: ‘Making Open and Machine Readable Data the New Default for Government Information'. "As one vital benefit of open government, making information resources easy to find, accessible, and usable can fuel entrepreneurship, innovation, and scientific discovery that improves Americans' lives and contributes significantly to job creation."

NOAA is providing all industry stakeholders an opportunity to comment and respond. NOAA encourages communication and a robust dialogue on this RFI.

Information Requested
Interested firms should submit a response with a written statement of interest or capability and discussion of the following enumerated points:

1. Value Proposition
Including consideration of NOAA's responsibilities by virtue of Executive Order 13642 and OMB M-13-13:

a. Describe your vision of potential innovations, products, or opportunities that may become viable if NOAA releases its environmental data in a strategic location that has both analytic and computational capabilities.
b. Describe how sharing NOAA's data could create jobs or spur the economy.
c. Provide metrics that should be considered to measure the level of impact or success from releasing this data through this partnership approach.

2. Data Infrastructure
a. Provide architectural information and diagrams representing the intended role for any described capability (e.g., data storage, data ingest, data processing, analytics)
b. Describe a viable methodology for extracting environmental data from NOAA's access locations, distributed across its enterprise in multiple geographic locations.
c. Once the data are collected, describe how these data might be hosted in your environment and how it would be accessible to the public and users of your services.
d. Describe your methods for ingesting data from source systems and open sources, automatic application of metadata and other tags, and delivery to analysts and users in "near real time".
e. Describe the methods your organization could use to support user capacity and experience (look and feel) such as uptime guarantees, simultaneous user capability (e.g., crash-free user load capacity limits), download bandwidth, and computational capacity (including diverse computational architectures).
f. Describe any data transfer, storage, or hosting limitations that should be considered.
g. Identify the underlying open source technology and/or standard(s) or other standards (such as ISO, IEEE, industry) to which each capability or product adheres (including data and metadata standards).

3. Data Services
a. Identify any catalog or description that NOAA would need to provide along with the data.
b. Identify any NOAA data or datasets which you believe would be of highest value to initiate this partnership.
c. Describe 1) relevant geospatial and other analytic technical capabilities that help data scientists and untrained end users alike identify patterns, trends, and data segments of interest in the context of dynamic and continuous correlation; 2) capabilities that inherently manage information relationships and models; and 3) agile analytics capabilities that can help data scientists and/or end users identify and dynamically exploit emerging trends in data sets and data flows.
d. Describe 1) relevant visual capabilities for helping users understand important relationships in large data sets (e.g., geospatial, graphs, time series, etc.); 2) information access in mobile environments; and 3) capabilities that enable information sharing through visual depictions of large/complex information.
e. Describe potential data services or any value-added data services and products.
f. Describe the methodology that you might use to determine the price paid by users for value-added services and products.

4. Data Management
a. Describe your methodology to ensure data integrity with the "reference copy" that will be retained within NOAA.
b. Describe data provenance methods that could to be used to determine attribution and guarantee the reliability of the data.
c. Describe how your organization would transition the data to another provider, if necessary.

5. Data Security
a. Identify methods that are available in your solution for hardening the capability and/or security features that are intrinsic to your capability to meet FISMA security standards.

6. Partnership Methods
a. Describe any acquisition or partnering methodology that you recommend.
b. Recommend whether NOAA should engage a systems integrator or multiple cloud vendors to accomplish this objective.
c. Describe how your organization could be able to provide the services at no cost to the Government.
d. Describe the target customer audience and how you envision a sufficient revenue stream to be able to reliably provide the services.
e. Describe any risks that NOAA should consider or mitigate.

7. Capabilities
a. Provide a brief description of your Big Data capabilities, including storage, data analytics, and data visualization.
b. NOAA has 10s of petabytes of data and produces over 15 million products daily (in the order of 10s of terabytes). Does your organization have the ability to host major portions or all of NOAA's releasable data and the associated metadata? Describe your capabilities.
c. Provide an exemplar case study or success story where your Big Data solutions were integrated. Explain the alternatives considered and challenges faced.
d. Provide information on what Federal agencies and/or private entities have benefited from your Big Data capabilities and how your company is prepared to deliver and service Big Data capabilities to a Federal agency that must comply with IT laws, regulations and policies.
e. Responses from large and small businesses are encouraged. Please provide the size status of your company/organization based on NAICS 518210 - Data Processing, Hosting, and Related Services, with a size standard of $30 million.

Written comments, no longer than fifty (50) pages in length, should be submitted, electronically in PDF, no later than March 24, 2014, addressed to: and Please do not submit marketing material or business proprietary information.

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David Zhang,
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