NIST Spetial Publication 500-220
Guide on Open System Environment (OSE) Procurements


Gary E. Fisher

Systems and Software Technology Division Computer Systems Laboratory National Institute of Standards and Technology Gaithersburg, Maryland 20899
October 1994

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The guidance in this report pertains to U.S. Government acquisition of Open System Environment (OSE) infrastructure including operating system, human/computer interface, software engineering, data management, data interchange, graphics, network, security, and system/network management services based on implementations of standard application program interfaces, programming languages, data formats, and protocols. Other organizations, such as state and local governments, academic, and private institutions also may find the information helpful in defining computing environments that promote application portability, interoperability, and scalability.
The procurement of information technology that provides an OSE can be complex and difficult to manage. Much can be learned from procurement actions that have been instituted for acquiring the technology to support an OSE. This report provides a source of such information.
An Open System Environment encompasses the functionality needed to provide interoperability, portability, and scalability of computerized applications across networks of heterogeneous, multi-vendor hardware/software/communications platforms. The OSE forms an extensible framework that allows services, interfaces, protocols, and supporting data formats to be defined in terms of nonproprietary specifications that evolve through open (public), consensus-based fomms.
A selected suite of specifications that defines the interfaces, services, protocols, and data formats for a particular class or domain of applications is called a profile. The Application Portability Profile (APP) integrates industry, Federal, national, international, and other specifications into a Federal application profile to provide the functionality necessary to accommodate a broad range of Federal information technology requirements.
The Open System Environment concept has become ubiquitous throughout both the public and private sectors. Federal agencies are finding that open systems provide a more flexible, cost-effective, and beneficial environment for supporting mission-critical applications than previous infrastructures based on proprietary technology. They are also finding that the initial move to open systems can be expensive and difficult to manage if not planned carefully.
There are many acquisition strategies possible when implementing an OSE. The implementation of OSEs will most likely be accomplished in a series or combination of acquisitions. The planning and design of the OSE may be a single procurement where engineering services and information systems are purchased under the same contract through an integrator. This strategy has risks associated with it. If the acquisition is delayed, then the implementation will be delayed. Another acquisition strategy may involve a series of separate acquisitions where the agency may perform the integration or establish a contract for integration services.
Agencies have requested assistance from the Computer Systems Laboratory (CSL) in an effort to control the evolution of open systems and provide guidance on managing the transition from current environments to the OSE. In the process of implementing open systems, agencies have found that significant up-front planning and current knowledge of technology are necessary to remain flexible and to take advantage of targets of opportunity as they arise. Many lessons-learned in OSE acquisition programs that agencies have undertaken are included in this report. This information is meant to assist program managers and senior project engineers in acquiring an OSE on which to build flexible, modular systems and applications.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

HOW TO USE THIS REPORT ix

1. INTRODUCTION 1
    1.1 Purpose 1
    1.2 Scope 1
    1.3 Report Organization. 3

2. OSE REQUIREMENTS AND SPECIFICATIONS 3
    2.1 Operating System Services  5
    2.2 Human/Computer Interface Services  6
    2.3 Software Engineering Services  7
    2.4 Data Management Services  7
    2.5 Data Interchange Services  8
    2.6 Graphics Services  8
    2.7 Network Services  9
    2.8 Integral Supporting Services  9
            2.8.1 Security Services  9
            2.8.2 Management Services  10
    2.9 Additional Services Requirements  10

3. ACQUIRING AN OPEN SYSTEM ENVIRONMENT   11
    3.1 Scope of the Acquisition 11
            3.1.1 Systems and Applications  12
            3.1.2 Requirement for Open System Environment. 15
    3.2 Standards Testing  17
            3.2.1 Applicability of FIPS  17
            3.2.2 Validation Testing  18
            3.2.3 Interoperability Testing  23
            3.2.4 Portability Testing  23
            3.2.5 Scalability Testing  24
            3.2.6 Capability Demonstration. 25
            3.2.7 Alternatives to Testing  26
                3.2.8 Instructions to Offerers  27
            3.2.9 Evaluation of Proposals 27

4. OPERATING SYSTEM SERVICES . 28
    4.1 Instructions to Offerers  30
    4.2 Evaluation of Proposals  31

5. HUMAN/COMPUTER INTERFACE SERVICES  31
    5.1 Instructions to Offerers  33
    5.2 Evaluation of Proposals  33

6. SOFTWARE ENGINEERING SERVICES  34
    6.1 Instructions to Offerers  36
    6.2 Evaluation of Proposals 37

7. DATA MANAGEMENT SERVICES  37
    7.1 Instructions to Offerers  40
    7.2 Evaluation of Proposals  40

8. DATA INTERCHANGE SERVICES . 40
    8.1 Instructions to Offerers  44
    8.2 Evaluation of Proposals  44

9. GRAPHICS SERVICES  45
    9.1 Instructions to Offerers  46
    9.2 Evaluation of Proposals  46

10. COMPUTER NETWORK SERVICES  46
    10.1 Instructions to Offerers  52
    10.2 Evaluation of Proposals  53

11. SECURITY SERVICES  53
    11.1 Instructions to Offerers  57
    11.2 Evaluation of Proposals  57

12. MANAGEMENT SERVICES  57
    12.1 Instructions to Offerers  58
    12.2 Evaluation of Proposals  58

13. NONSTANDARD PROFILE SPECIFICATIONS  58

14. HARDWARE REQUIREMENTS  59


15. TRANSITION PLANS  60
    15.1 Baseline Definition and Analysis . 62
            15.1.1 Instructions to Offerers  64
            15.1.2 Evaluation of Proposals  64
    15.2 Objective Architecture . 65
            15.2.1 Instructions to Offerers   65
            15.2.2 Evaluation of Proposals  65
    15.3 Transition Strategy   66
            15.3.1 Instructions to Offerers . 68
            15.3.2 Evaluation of Proposals  69
    15.4 Intermediate Target Implementation Plans   71
            15.4.1 Instructions to Offerers. 72
            15.4.2 Evaluation of Proposals  72
    15.5 Training . 72

16. EVALUATING PROPOSALS . 72

17. CONCLUSION 73

ANNEX A. OSE EVALUATORS  75
        A.I Operating System Services Evaluators . 75
        A.2 Human/computer Interface Services Evaluators  75
        A.3 Data Management Services Evaluators  76
        A.4 Combined Data Interchange and Graphics Services Evaluators  77
        A.5 Software Engineering Services Evaluators  77
        A.6 Network Services Evaluators  78
        A.7 Security Services Evaluators  78
        A.8 Management Services Evaluators  79
        A.9 Adjunct Technical Support Team  80
        A.10 Proposal Evaluation Lessons Learned  80
        A.11 Evaluation Criteria  80
        A.12 Example Evaluation Factors for Operating System Services  81
        A. 13 Example Evaluation Factors for Human/computer Interface Services. 81
        A. 14 Example Evaluation Factors for Programming Services . 82
        A. 15 Example Evaluation Factors for Network Services  82

ANNEX B. EXAMPLE OF SOW REQUIREMENTS  85

ANNEX C. REFERENCES  109

DOCUMENT SOURCES    112

ELECTRONIC DOCUMENT SOURCES  115

ANNEX D. OSE DECISION TABLE  119

GLOSSARY  123

INDEX 143

LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 1. Relationship of OSE Requirements to Procurement Process.  4
Figure 2. Data Interchange Complexity Levels.  8
Figure 3. Example of OSE Configuration Summary.  14
Figure 4. Sample Baseline Configuration Diagram. .. 63
Figure 5. Middleware and Standard Interface Configurations. 70
Figure 6. Sample Baseline Configuration Diagram.  104

LIST OF TABLES
Table 1. RFP Sections Emphasized in the OSE Procurement Guide  2
Table 2. Specifications and Testing Organizations  21
Table 3. Example of Baseline Product Configuration  66

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