CSC joins forces with Defence

The Canadian air force, army and navy are integrating forces at the Department of National Defence in Ottawa, and will soon function under a single operating system.

Public Works and Government Services Canada recently awarded Computer Services Corp. (CSC) a seven-year contract to standardize and integrate DND’s deployed network operating system.

If all options are exercised, the contract could be worth $60 million.

Gail Clark, DND’s project manager of the standard network operating system (NOS) in Ottawa, said the single network will improve efficiencies within the department.

“It will consolidate our resources and it will be cost effective,” she said, adding that the implementation will also ensure DND maintains a secure environment.

“This is a good opportunity for [DND] and offers good value for the department.”

Right now DND has multiple network operating systems, so coming down to one system will translate into increased savings in server licences, said Charlie Whelan, vice-president of CSC’s Canadian operations.

The integrated system will also reduce software, maintenance and asset costs.

CSC will design an enterprise network operating system, ensure integration with existing infrastructure, provide testing and rollout across the department’s designated domain and will also provide additional functions such as asset management and software distribution, said David Dewar, project director in Ottawa.

The network will be based on Windows 2000.

Timing was right for DND to restructure the system, Clark said, because many areas within the department needed to apply for new contracts for their server licences.

Until now the system was set up so that individual units within DND could procure their own licences and conduct their own design and implementation of their individual servers.

The contract, which will be implemented in phases, should be up and running by March 2004. After that time CSC will provide third-level support.

Other companies teaming on the contract are Hewlett-Packard Canada and CDI Corporate Education Services. HP will provide technical architecture and deployment services, while CDI will assist with training services.

The network itself will be overseen by one project office in Ottawa, where much of the initial planning will also be conducted.

“Instead of many units doing the same work, it’s better use of the departments resources to have one office do the work for many,” Clark said.

“We decided to have one office do it for everyone to consolidate and to reduce costs,” Clark added.

The biggest challenge DND faces will be managing the upcoming changes to the network, Clark said.

“We need to ensure we manage effectively and that we maintain our existing operations and don’t disrupt them,” she said.

DND resources will be used to validate the design, and onsite system administrators will be on hand to ensure the design and implementation of the network meets their needs.

“The NOS contract and our rollout will provide a highway of foundation in which future IT projects can integrate,” Clark said. “It’s a foundation for the future.”