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5/5/2011
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Carahsoft, CollabNet Win $29 Million Defense Contract

The Department of Defense will use CollabNet software and services to extend the Forge.mil initiative for collaborative software development.

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Carahsoft Technology has secured a $29 million Department of Defense blanket purchase agreement to support CollabNet software and services as an extension of the Forge.mil initiative for collaborative software development.

The deal follows the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) social media upgrade of Forge.mil, which is based on CollabNet software. CollabNet provides supported enterprise distributions of open source products like the Subversion source code management system, as well as its own application lifecycle management product, TeamForge, and associated services. Carahsoft is a specialist in government contracting and helps software vendors like CollabNet and Red Hat navigate the defense procurement and security clearance process.

CollabNet CEO Bill Portelli said the deal is significant because it will allow software collaboration to be adopted more rapidly throughout DOD. While CollabNet already had several installations on defense networks, working through the procurement process was time consuming.

With Forge.mil, DISA has effectively set itself to redistribute CollabNet's products in a software-as-a-service model. DISA actually supports two versions, SoftwareForge, which has about 9,000 users, and ProjectForge, a version for projects that require their own private collaboration space. DISA offers free access to the SoftwareForge version for military software developers and contractors that agree to share their source code internally, but ProjectForge users pay a fee for access. Having a blanket purchasing agreement in place eliminates the necessity of treating each of those fee-for-service arrangements as a new contract. "We do see some pent up demand from agencies that need to get onto Forge.mil," Portelli said.

The agreement also will simplify deployment of the technology to any part of the military that wants to install a separate instance of the CollabNet software on its own servers, he said. "With this, they go with predetermined rates and fees, and it's done."

Carahsoft president Craig Abod said that beyond simplifying the contractual arrangements, his firm will help market the software within DOD and provide project management support for new installations.

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