CTS-2 RFP

Update 9-22-20

Update 9-15-20

Update 9-10-20

Update 9-1-20

Update 8-24-20

Update 8-5-20 

Update 7-20-20

Request for Proposals B640169

Updated on 9-10-20 

Proposal due  10-01-20 

The Tri-Laboratory Commodity Technology System 2 (CTS-2) Request for Proposals (RFP) has been approved by DOE/NNSA for release and publication on this website. The CTS-2 RFP release date is 07-08-20. Interested offerors are advised to discard all preceding draft CTS-2 RFI documents, which were published and released on the CTS-2 RFI website prior to 07-08-20. DOE/NNSA directed changes to the draft CTS-2 RFP, and those changes are reflected in RFP documents now available on this website. Interested offerors are advised to base their proposal responses on current RFP documents and any subsequent RFP amendments on this website.

Interested offerors must submit all communication (questions, comments, etc.) about the CTS-1 CTS-2 RFP to the LLNS Contract Analyst Gary Ward, whose contact information is identified in the RFP letter. The CTS-2 market discussion phase is complete; therefore, interested offerors are no longer permitted direct communication with the Tri-Laboratory CTS-2 technical community except for regular business activities that do not pertain to the CTS-2 RFP.

Interested offerors are advised to monitor this website for potential CTS-2 RFP amendments and other CTS-2 RFP information updates. LLNS may notify interested offerors (who have previously contacted LLNS and expressed interest in the CTS-2 RFP) of updated CTS-2 RFP information via e-mail; however, LLNS is under no obligation to do so. It is the responsibility of all interested offerors to monitor this website for current CTS-2 RFP information.

CTS-2 RFP Components


22—Sealed Bid Instructions (Deleted; Overridden by Amendment #1)

NEW Amendment #3 Added: Due Date Extended

NEW Amendment #1 Added

NEW Amendment #2 added

Proposal Submission

Proposals are due on the day / time identified in the in the RFP letter or subsequent amendment(s), if any.

Submission to LLNS Contract Analyst

  • The Tri-labs do not want to receive hardcopy proposals. Therefore, Offerors are not required to submit hardcopy proposals. Facsimile proposals are not acceptable.
  • Offerors should NOT plan to submit their proposal(s) via email.  Firewall and other cybersecurity measures at LLNL may interfere with proposal submission via email. 
  • Offerors should submit one complete copy of their proposals on compact disk (CD-ROM).
  • Offeror may deliver its proposal on CD-ROM to the following address.

Address for Commercial Courier

(Not For Hand Delivery)
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Attention:  Gary Ward
Mail Code L-555
RFP B640169
7000 East Avenue
Livermore, CA  94550

Alternative Methods

As an alternative to CD-ROM delivery, Offeror may establish a secure means such as Microsoft dropbox, Google drive, or other mechanism that enables Offeror to give the LLNS Contract Analyst a secure link / password, and allows the LLNS Contract Analyst to download offeror’s complete proposal. If offeror prefers this proposal delivery method, offeror will notify the LLNS Contract Analyst of the secure link / password at least three days prior to the proposal due date / time.

Questions and Answers

Question #1:  The CTS-2 RFP states "Offerors may use the size kernel for each of these benchmarks that produces the best performance" regarding the DGEMM and DAXPY benchmarks.  Do you really mean this? Particularly for DAXPY, running with a vector small enough to fit into L1 produces performance significantly higher than larger vectors.  One can play similar games with DGEMM although the impact is smaller.
 
Answer #1:  What the RFP specifies is what NNSA Tri-Labs want.  Offerors are free to run whatever size they prefer.

 

Question #2: Regarding one copy of STREAM per core, are bidders permitted to modify the STREAM source code to use MPI for the purposes of running STREAM on each core, or must launch N copies of an unmodified version of the benchmark using e.g. GNU parallel or mpirun?
 
Answer #2:  NNSA Tri-Labs prefer the N copies approach, but either is ok. For this benchmark NNSA Tri-Labs do want the array size set large enough that main memory is being measured and not cache bandwidth. The suggestion of 3 times the aggregate cache size is reasonable.  

 

Question #3:  Can you elaborate on what is meant by "all OpenCL functionality"? Can you define this in terms of OpenCL 1.2, 2.2, or 3.0 compliance? If there are key features that are required by NNSA applications to support higher level can those be enumerated. Enumeration of other features introduced after OpenCL 1.2 will be helpful.
 
Answer #3:  NNSA Tri-Labs want OpenCL version 1.2 compliance at a minimum. The provided drivers will support all OpenCL version 1.2 functionality. The offeror will describe any additional features supported beyond version 1.2 including those required for higher level programming models.

 

Question #4:  In 02_CTS-2_Draft_SOW-v1.9.docx, Section 3.1.2 states the SU Summary Matrix Spreadsheet is provided as a separate RFP document. Please specify where the matrix can be found in the RFP files.

Answer #4:  Refer to RFP Amendment 1.

 

Question #5:  In the PEPPI, Section 6.2 states: “Offeror shall fully complete the Optional Equipment Pricing table contained in the Price Schedule.” Please specify where the Optional Equipment Pricing table can be found in the 04_CTS2_Price_Schedule_V6.xlsx. 

Answer #5:  Refer to RFP Amendment 1.

 

Question #6:  Refer to PEPPI Section 2.1. Is there a page limit for Volume III?

Answer #6:  There is no page limit for Volume III.

 

Question #7:  Based on the aggreate of RFP information, it appears RFP attachment “22_Sealed_Bid_Instructions_06-16-17.docx” is inapplicable. Is that the case?

Answer #7:  Refer to RFP Amendment 1.

 

Question #8:  Draft SOW Para 4.10.10 reads "DOE P clearance” is required for repair actions at LLNL. Can the government define P clearance as opposed to L or Q?

Answer #8:  P-clearance is the standard non-clearance LLNL badge.   For LANL and Sandia it would be their non-clearance badge equivalent.  

 

Question #9:  Draft SOW Section 4.10.10 provides access information only about LLNL; what are the clearance requirements for SNL and LANL?

Answer #9:  Standard non-cleared badge (including visitor badge).  L/Q badges are not anticipated for CTS-2 requirements. 

 

Question #10:  Will the Government issue the offeror the required security badge (i.e. HSPD-12, LSSO) for maintenance at LLNL, SNL, and LANL? 

Answer #10:  A point of clarification: LLNS is not the Government.   LLNS / the Tri-Labs anticipate issuing non-cleared site specific badges.  Those may be temporary (day to week) or more longer term (a year) depending on the need and Tri-Lab requirements.  All badges are dependent on applicable security reviews.  

 

Question #11:  "SU Requirements Summary Matrix: The following matrix identifies the highest-priority technical requirements and will be completed by an Offeror in its entirety. Entries will be labeled N/A if the requirement is not offered. In addition, the system requirements summary matrix will be completed for any alternative proposed systems. SU Summary Matrix Spreadsheet is provided as a separate RFP document."
   
Would LLNL please provide this RFP document?

Answer #11:  Refer to RFP Amendment 1.

 

Question #12:  Paragraph 3 of the SOW asks the Offeror to propose combining SUs in at least 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 12, 18 and 24 multiples while the pricing schedule (attachment 4) has tabs for 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 12, 16, and 24 SU Systems. Additionally, Section 2.2.2 of the SOW document states that the "The Tri-Laboratories envision deploying a small number of multiple-thousand node clusters (up to a 16-24SU clusters), ....).

Answer #12:  Refer to RFP Amendment 1.

 

Question #13:  In the 04_CTS2_Price_Schedule_V6 Pricing File on each of the BOM files there is a section called “Remote Partition Service Node” and in reviewing the SOW there is no reference to this as a requirement.

Answer #13:  RPS is the management node.  Offeror should describe the management node in those sections.  Please clarify.

 

Question #14:  Can the Government provide anticipated quantities by year and /or add those quantities into the 04_CTS2_Price_Schedule_V6 Pricing File?

Answer #14:  A point of clarification: LLNS is not the Government. It is not possible to accurately forecast with certainty the quantity of SUs to be acquired by LLNS / the Tri-Labs under CTS-2.  Actual quantity of SUs to acquired are based, in part, on TBD future funding to be provided by DOE NNSA, and on Tri-Lab programmatic requirements. Subject to future funding availability, LLNS / the Tri-Labs anticipate acquiring as many or more SUs as acquired under the preceding CTS-1 acquisition. To date LLNS / the Tri-Labs have acquired approximatly 104 SUs under CTS-1.

 

Question #15:  Section 1.5 Price – Requirement: Proposed price compared to the perceived value. Can the Government provide further information on if there is a specific method or market study/indice that will be utilize to calculate the perceived value?

Answer #15:  A point of clarification: LLNS is not the Government. In the RFP's Sample Subcontract, the term 'Subcontractor' refers to the party / entity LLNS enters into the subcontract with for delivery / installation of CTS-2 SUs. A 'lower-tier subcontractor' is a party the Subcontractor may acquire goods / services from. A 'lower-tier subcontractor' may be a processor supplier, memory supplier, motherboard supplier, interconnect supplier, etc. The Price Schedule spreadsheet provides an example of the itemized component pricing that the Tri-Labs are looking for.  

 

Question #16:  Requirement Section 3 – Lower Tier Subcontractor Price Information. Question:  Can the Government confirm that this requirement is solely related to Services portion of this contract?  If not, please provide further details on what constitutes a Lower Tier Subcontractor? 

Answer #16:  A point of clarification: LLNS is not the Government. There is no specific method or market study / indice mandated for use.

 

Question #17:  Please clarify the "Remote Partition Service Node" listed in each tab of the price schedule beginning on row 52 and ending on row 67. This item isn't discussed within the SOW document.

Answer #17:  Remote Partition Service (RPS) node is the same as the Management node. The two references have the same meaing.

 

Question #18:  Only two of the RFP documents mentions key personnel, the Sample Subcontract and the PEPPI documents. The Sample Subcontract document, Article 14, provides some terms and conditions and requirements around key personnel. Section 4.1, fourth paragraph of the PEPPI document specifies that the Offeror should discuss the expertise and skill level of our company's key personnel who will work on this project. 

Is the Offeror supposed to provide the key personnel we believe are needed since they aren't specified by title/role/expertise?
If so, are resumes required for these key personnel?

Answer #18:  Yes, the Offeror should respond to the PEPPI requirements and provide information/resumes regarding its proposed key personnel for CTS-2.

 

Question #19: Will the Government please define 'non-volatile media'?

Answer #19:  A point of clarification: LLNS is not the Government. Non-volatile media is media that can store user/system information including user data, passwords, system configuration data, etc.  Non-volatile media could include SSDs, HDDs, potentially motherboards, network cards, RAID controllers, BMC, etc.  A statement of volatility is needed before LLNS / Tri-Labs may return any particular failed component with non-volatile media.  

 

Question #20:  Para 4 states “failed FRUs or nodes (except for nonvolatile media) will be returned…”. Does this policy only pertain to non-volatile user data as opposed to non-volatile data such as code or firmware embedded at the factory?

Answer #20:  The concern is non-volatile media that can store information about system configuration, BMC passwords, or other related data.  Data stored in volatile devices/memory (like DIMMs) is not an issue.  

 

Question #21:  If a component has non-volatile user data but steps for clearing it are provided, can the component be returned?

Answer #21:  Yes, however the steps for clearing a non-volatile component will need to be reviewed and approved by LLNS / Tri-Lab security. LLNS / Tri-Lab has been successful, and prefer, to return as many FRU's as our security proceedures allow. 

 

Question #22:  Are the parts retention requirements the same at all three lab locations, or do the site security plans for system components differ? If so, how?  

Answer #22:  In general, each Tri-Lab site controls its own security plans and therefore they can differ slightly in implementation.  However, for CTS procurements the Tri-Labs will work with the selected Offeror to ensure that the statements of volatility apply to and are approved by all three labs.  

 

Question #23: Would LLNS please extend the response due date to Sept 22, 2020? 

Answer #23:  Refer to RFP Amendment 1.

 

Question #24: In Section 4.10.7 of the draft SOW, it states: “The parts cache will be sufficient to sustain necessary repair actions on all proposed hardware, keeping all items in fully operational status for at least one week without parts cache refresh.” Two paragraphs later states: “The Offeror will replenish the spare parts cache at each Tri-Laboratory site, as parts are consumed, to restore the spare parts cache to a level sufficient to sustain necessary repair actions on all proposed hardware and keep the hardware in fully operational status for at least 10 calendar days.” Please clarify whether it is 1 week or 10 calendar days.

Answer #24: The Offeror will size the spare parts cache to allow full operational status for at least one week.   

 

Question #25: What are the plans for an architecture decision point (ADP) for GPUs?

Answer #25: At this time the Tri-Labs do not have a firm timeline for when or if there will be an ADP for GPUs released.  Multiple factors may be considered when or if there is an ADP.  This includes NNSA program needs for GPU machines and the timing for bringing in a GPU system.  If there is an ADP vendors will be given sufficient time to respond.

 

Question #26: What benchmarks would be used to evaluate accelerator performance in a GPU architecture decision point (ADP)?

Answer #26: The benchmarks used in a GPU ADP would reflect the use NNSA use cases for these GPU systems (i.e. HPC and/or AI/ML).  A preference will be given to using the CTS-2 benchmarks when relevant.  However, some benchmarks may be replaced to better reflect the planned GPU workloads

 

Question #27: Hot Spare Cluster (HSC) - The “hot spare cluster (HSC)” item is shown on row 155 of each xSU tab(s)/spreadsheet(s). Question: The Hot Spare Cluster is site related and not xSU related as reflected in the pricing file. Currently the way the pricing file is requesting pricing we will have to price 1 Hot spare Cluster for each xSU which is not the requirement. Would LLNS please modify the pricing file to list the Hot Spare Cluster pricing on a separate tab or as a site specific requirement?  Also, we believe that this “Hot Spare Cluster (HSC)” should align with Section 4.10.8 of the technical volume and be listed with its own components, consistent with this SOW section. Please clarify. 

Answer #27: The HSC is an option for each system delivered.  Not all delivered systems will include an HSC, but the option is required.  

 

Question #28: On the pricing spreadsheet, row 154 is labelled “On site parts cache” and is shown on each xSU tab(s)/spreadsheet(s).  Question:  The “On site parts cache” is site related and not xSU related as reflected in the pricing file.   We believe the “On site parts cache” item should be broken out separately on its own tab/spreadsheet, would LLNS please modify the pricing file to list the “On Site Parts Cache” on a separate tab or as a site specific requirement?

Answer #28: The Onsite Spare Parts Cache is per system.  It's up to an Offeror how the spare parts cache size scales as the number of SU's in the system is increased.  

 

Question #29: On the pricing spreadsheet, row 154 is labelled “On site parts cache” and is shown on each xSU tab(s)/spreadsheet(s). Question: We believe the “On site parts cache” should not be contained with  the “hot spare cluster (HSC)” or the other items shown now in rows 156 -165 as these items align with the definition of the “hot spare cluster (HSC)”.  We believe that LLNL needs to differentiate the pricing of a “hot spare cluster (HSC)” and its components separately from the “On site parts cache” as they are not the same thing and shouldn’t be combined in any way within the pricing spreadsheet.  Also,  we believe the “On site parts cache” should align with Section 4.10.7 of the technical volume and be consistent with this SOW section. Please clarify.  

Answer #29: Offeror may separate the HSC from the spare parts cache.  

 

Question #30: " Using the 1SU tab as an example, but this question/comment relates to all SU Tabs- 1SU, 2SU, 4SU, 6 SU, 8SU, 12SU, 16SU and 24SU: Cell D5 –the calculation states =F6+F19+F34+F52+F95+F113+SUM(F127:F151)  

  • This does not include the value in Cell F73;
  • The equation includes a sum of F127 to 151 and should be just F127. If left as is, it will count those items multiple times depending on the SU count;
  • We believe the calculation should be=F6+F19+F34+F52+F73+ F95+F113+F127.  Could LLNS please be review and modified the pricing spreadsheet appropriately?"

Answer #30: The Offeror is free to customize the spreadsheet to meet their needs, including adjusting the formulas.  

 

Question #31: Using the 1SU tab as an example, but this question relates to all SU Tabs- 1SU, 2SU, 4SU, 6 SU, 8SU, 12SU, 16SU and 24SU: Cell E6 and E95 – Would LLNS please confirm that the offeror should insert the quantity required for the 162 nodes per request SU count, i.e. 1 SU vs 2 SU, etc.?

Answer #31: The Offeror is free to adjust the SU size.  162 node SU size is just a representative example.  The Offeror may increase or decrease the proposed SU size.  The Offeror is free to customize the spreadsheet to account to system items that scale with # of SU's (CPU, memory) and perhaps some items that do directly scale with # of SU's (# of racks).  For example, 1 SU may be utilize 2.5 out of 3 racks.  So a 2 SU system would require 5 racks, not 6.  The Offeror is free to customize the price spreadsheet as need to account for different requirements for different system sizes.

 

Question #32: Using the 1SU tab as an example, but this question relates to all SU Tabs- 1SU, 2SU, 4SU, 6 SU, 8SU, 12SU, 16SU and 24SU: Cell D146 and D155 – There are quantities in these cells, 1 and 12 respectively. Could LLNS please provide explanation as to what these quantities are related to and, if they are required to be priced or if they are in error, would LLNS pleas modify the spreadsheet to remove them?

Answer #32: The formula is those cells may be deleted and substituted with the appropriate price (or quantity) information.

 

Question #33: Cell D5 has a reference error as the formula is incorrect. Can LLNS please correct this formula?

Answer #33: The formula is those cells may be deleted and substituted with the appropriate price (or quantity) information.

 

Question #34: Based on the instructions, “Offeror shall complete the system summary for the highest priority technical requirements”, it is our understanding that LLNL is just looking for configuration information on the components. For the majority of the on this spreadsheet, "Qty" is not applicable so we have the following questons: 1)If our understanding is correct, can LLNL please remove the quantity column in total or 2) If our understanding is not correct and if a quantity is required to be provided, can LLNL confirm that this quantity is for a 1SU configuration and review if quantity makes sense for all of the items listed? If not, please provide further information as to how the quantity is to be populated.

Answer #34: The Offeror may use the Qty column if necessary or just put NA if not applicable for a particular component.  The information requested is independent of SU size or # of SU's.  

 

Question #35: Can LLNL please confirm that the offerors are not required to complete the tables within the sample subcontract until after award?

Answer #35: Offerors are not required to complete any pages / tables in the sample subcontract.

 

Question #36: Hot Spare Cluster and Onsite Parts Locker:  Can LLNS confirm that the price of these items will be included in the “Phase x LANL SU Parts Acquisition, Phase x LLNL SU Parts Acquisition and Phase x SNL SU Parts Acquisition” line items of the sample subcontract?  If not, can LLNL provide guidance as to where this will be included in the Fixed Price Table in the sample subcontract?

Answer #36: LLNS and the offeror selected for negotiations (i.e., selected offeror) will discuss milestone payment amounts during the pre-award process. A set of system milestones and their respective payment amount will be based, in part, on the selected offeror's proposal pricing information and subsequent price negotiations, if any. A system acceptance milestone will be 20% or more of a total system price.

 

Question #37: Can LLNS confirm that the price to included on the “Phase x LLNL SU Rack Build, Phase x LANL SU Rack Build, Phase x SNL SU Rack Build”, line item of the sample subcontract will equate to the Build and Integration at Offeror's facility line item from the pricing file?

Answer #37: refer to A36 above

 

Question #38: Can LLNS confirm that the price to be included on the “Phase x LLNL SU Delivery, Integration, and Acceptance” line item of the sample contract will equate to the “Installation at LLNL” line item from the pricing file?

Answer #38: refer to A36 above

 

Question #39: Can LLNS confirm at the price to be included on the  “Phase x LANL SU Delivery, Integration, and Acceptance” line item will equate to the “Installation at LANL” line item from the pricing file?

Answer #39: refer to A36 above

 

Question #40: Can LLNS confirm that the price that will be included in the sample subcontract for the “Phase x SNL SU Delivery, Integration, and Acceptance” line item of the sample contract will equate to the “Installation at SNL” line item from the pricing file?

Answer #40: refer to A36 above

 

Question #41: The SOW states the rack requirement is for 30-in wide (750mm) on the HSN network racks, but the other racks are supposed to have “ample room”. Questions: 1) Is there a max Rack width for this project? 2) Could the network racks be 750mm (29.5”) and the Liquid Cooled Server racks be 800mm (31.4”) wide? 3) Could we do either 750mm and/or 800mm, but we would prefer the 800mm for more “ample room” to route network/power cable bundles, LC tubing, servicing, etc.

Answer #41: In general, the Tri-Laboratories can handle slighly different rack width for node vs. network racks.  It's up to the Offeror to develop/propose an optimal solution. 

 

Question #42: Do all 3 locations have the same max rack width or does it vary?

Answer #42: The Tri-Laboratories perfer to have the same rack configuration across all three sites. 

 

Question #43: The requirement says the Seller’s invoices must reference “the name of the LLNS Contract Analyst.” Question:  Will his/her name be included in the invoice address of every PO issued to the Seller or will it need to be manually added to every invoice submitted by the Seller?

Answer #43: The subcontract will identify the CA's name and contact information at the time of initial award. With respect to 'every PO issued' as mentioned in Q43 above, the subcontract is the award document. The notion that individual POs will be issued (under the subcontract?) is wrong. After initial subcontract award, modifications will be issued to the subcontract when one or more options are to be exercised and as other circumstances require.

 

Question #44: The requirement says “the terms of payment are 30 business days after receipt of the Seller's properly submitted invoice.”  However, in accordance with the provisions of FAR 52.232-25 Prompt Payment, invoice payments are due the “30th day after the designated billing office receives a proper invoice from the Contractor.” Question:  Since the RFP was issued in support of a prime contract with the US Department of Energy and according to the Prompt Payment Act the standard payment terms for US government agencies are 30 calendar days rather than 30 business days, will LLNS consider revising the payment terms in Attachment 12, Clause 8 to be consistent with FAR 52.232-25?

Answer #44: LLNS terms and conditions are structured to ensure compliance with the DOE / LLNS prime contract. LLNS awards approximately 10,000 individual purchase orders and subcontracts per year. Accordingly, LLNS (i) seeks to make awards in accordance with LLNS terms and conditions; (ii) does not seek a lenghty / inefficient terms and conditions negotiation process prior to each award; (iii) does not seek to tailor LLNS terms and conditions to suit an offeror's / subcontractor's particular desire / perspective; (iv) seeks to make awards in an efficient and timely manner, which is essential to DOE / LLNS mision needs; and (v) seeks offerors / subcontractors that are reasonable and efficient to do business with. With that said, an Offeror may make a business decision to propose one or more exceptions to LLNS terms and conditions and include / identify that position in its proposal by completing RFP Attachment 08 'CTS-2 Offeror Terms & Conditions Position'. LLNS will consider Offeror's proposal terms and conditions position as part of the proposal evaluation and selection process. An offeror may wish to carefully consider the volume and nature of terms and condition exceptions it proposes as an offeror's terms and conditions position may, in part, provide valuable insight on a number of points, such as  offeror's risk assessment / sensitivity setting, offeror's business decision calculation approach, and offeror's interest in representing itself as a source / firm that is reasonable and efficeint to do business with. An Offeror may wish to limit its proposed exceptions to what it considers essential, as opposed to a 'wish list' of issues big and small and everywhere in between. Recall that the RFP's PEPPI states: 'The Tri-Laboratory prefers Offeror proposals that indicate an unqualified acceptance of the terms and conditions in the Sample Subcontract and its Incorporated Documents'. LLNS will consider Offeror's proposal terms and conditions position as part of the proposal evaluation and selection process. For the Offeror LLNS selects for negotiation, LLNS and the selected offeror will discuss the selected offeror's proposed terms and conditions position if any exceptions are proposed. LLNS may or may not agree to one or more of the selected offeror's proposed exceptions during the pre-award process.

 

Question #45: "The requirement says “The Seller shall notify the LLNS Contract Analyst in writing if an ""EPA-designated item"", as defined in 48 CFR 23.401, used in performing this Purchase Order does not contain at least the percentage of recovered material required by any applicable specification of this Purchase Order. Such notice must include a detailed written justification for such failure, on the basis that the item is not available competitively within a reasonable time frame, does not meet appropriate performance standards, or is only available at an unreasonable price.”  This particular requirement was derived from FAR 52.223-9 Estimate of Percentage of Recovered Material Content for EPA-Designated Items, and the FAR clause is not applicable to commercial items per its prescriptive clause at 23.406(d).

Question:  Since the RFP and subsequent award is for the procurement of commercial items in the form of IT products and services and the governing clause for EPA-designated items (FAR 52.223-9) is not applicable to commercial items, will LLNS consider removing the requirement from Attachment 12, Clause 10?"

Answer #45: refer to A44 above

 

Question #46: The requirement says “Prior to delivery and upon reasonable advance notice, LLNS or a qualified third party may perform a preliminary inspection of the Ordered Items at the Seller’s or lower-tier subcontractor facilities during design, fabrication, assembly or testing in a manner that does not unduly delay Seller performance.”  In relation to that, Attachment 17 – Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) Specific Safety and Security Requirements includes Quality Assurance Program language on page 2 that says examples of compliance include ISO 9001. Question:  Since an ISO 9001 certification constitutes an inspection system that’s acceptable to the US Government per FAR Part 46 and the RFP cites an ISO 9001 as an example of a Subcontractor’s Quality Assurance Program that meets or exceeds the requirements in 10 CFR 830 and DOE O 414.1, could ISO 9001 certifications from the Seller and/or lower-tier subcontractor(s) be provided to LLNS to fulfill the preliminary inspection requirement in Attachment 12, Clause 11, Item A?

Answer #46: LLNS requires the right to preliminary inspection as stated in the RFP.

 

Question #47: "The requirement says “LLNS may direct the Seller to make changes within the general scope of this Purchase Order to (1) any Ordered Items to be manufactured or assembled specifically for LLNS, or the method of shipment, packaging, or place of delivery; and (2) any services to be performed or their time and place of performance.”  However there are no parameters included that define who’s authorized to make such changes, the format in which they should be submitted and the timeframe allowed dependent upon the type of change being made.  As an example, changes to method of shipment, packaging or place of delivery would typically need to be provided in writing by a designated Contracts Specialist prior to shipment.  

Question:  Based on the concern raised above and example provided, would LLNS consider revising the Attachment 12, Clause 12 language to add certain parameters for Changes?

Answer #47: refer to A44 above

 

Question #48: DEAR 970.5227-8 REFUND OF ROYALTIES (AUG 2002) is included. The content of the DOE clause was derived from FAR 52.227-9 Refund of Royalties (APR 1984), and this FAR clause is not applicable per its prescriptive language at FAR 27.202-5(a)(1) (i.e., no royalties are contemplated being charged or paid per the RFP and subsequent award). Question:  Since the reason to insert the clause does not apply for the contemplated award, would LLNS consider removing DEAR 970.5227-8 from Attachment 12, Clause 24? 

Answer #48: refer to A44 above

 

Question #49: FAR 52.203-7 ANTI-KICKBACK PROCEDURES (MAY 2014) is included.  However, this clause is not applicable to contracts for commercial items per FAR 12.503, and it’s not applicable to subcontracts for commercial item per FAR 12.504. Question:  Since the RFP and subsequent award is for the procurement of commercial items in the form of IT products and services, would LLNS consider removing FAR 52.203-7 from Attachment 12, Clause 24?

Answer #49: refer to A44 above

 

Question #50: FAR 52.222-4 CONTRACT WORK HOURS AND SAFETY STANDARDS ACT – OVERTIME COMPENSATION (MAY 2014) is included.  However, this clause is not applicable to contracts for commercial items per FAR 22.305(b). Question:  Since the RFP and subsequent award is for the procurement of commercial items in the form of IT products and services, would LLNS consider removing FAR 52.222-4 from Attachment 12, Clause 24?

Answer #50: refer to A44 above

 

Question #51: FAR 52.222-41 SERVICE CONTRACT LABOR STANDARDS (AUG 2018) is included.  However, the standard exemption clauses listed below that are associated with this FAR clause are NOT included. FAR 52.222-51 Exemption from Application of the Service Contract Labor Standards to Contracts for Maintenance, Calibration, or Repair of Certain Equipment—Requirements. FAR 52.222-53 Exemption from Application of the Service Contract Labor Standards to Contracts for Certain Services—Requirements. Question:  Since the work contemplated in the RFP and subsequent award solely consists of the type of services covered by the above exemptions (i.e., delivery, set-up, onsite installation, rack integration, and break-fix support, maintenance and warranty functions), would LLNS consider adding FAR 52.222-51 and 52.222-53 to Attachment 12, Clause 24?

Answer #51: refer to A44 above

 

Question #52: FAR 52.244-2 SUBCONTRACTS (OCT 2010) is included.  However, according to the FAR, this clause should only be inserted when contemplating: (i) a cost-reimbursement contract; (ii) a letter contract that exceeds the simplified acquisition threshold; (iii) a fixed-price contract that exceeds the simplified acquisition threshold under which unpriced contract actions (including unpriced modifications or unpriced delivery orders) are anticipated; or (iv) a time-and-materials contract that exceeds the simplified acquisition threshold; or (v) A labor-hour contract that exceeds the simplified acquisition threshold. Question:  Since the RFP contemplates a firm-fixed-price commercial item subcontract being awarded in accordance with FAR 52.244-6 Subcontracts for Commercial Items, and this contract type is not included in the list provided above, would LLNS consider removing FAR 52.244-2 from Attachment 12, Clause 24?

Answer #52: refer to A44 above

 

Question #53: FAR 52.245-1 GOVERNMENT PROPERTY (APR 2012), with ALTERNATE I is included.  However, the RFP and subsequent award does not contemplate government-furnished property (GFP) being needed or provided for subcontractor performance. Question:  Since GFP is not contemplated for this procurement, would LLNS consider removing FAR 52.245-1 from Attachment 12, Clause 24?

Answer #53: refer to A44 above

 

Question #54: AR 52.247-63 PREFERENCE FOR U.S.-FLAG AIR CARRIERS (JUNE 2003) is included.  However, this clause is not applicable to commercial items per FAR 47.405. Question: Since the RFP and subsequent award is for the procurement of commercial items in the form of IT products and services, would LLNS consider removing FAR 52.247-63 from Attachment 12, Clause 24?

Answer #54: refer to A44 above

 

Question #55: "FAR 52.225-1 BUY AMERICAN ACT – SUPPLIES (MAY 2014) is included.  However, this clause is not applicable to Information Technology (IT) that is a commercial item per its prescriptive clause at 25.103(e). Question:  Since the RFP and subsequent award is for the procurement of commercial items in the form of IT products and services, would LLNS consider removing FAR 52.225-1 from Attachment 12, Clause 24? "

Answer #55: refer to A44 above

 

Question #56: The requirement says “If any Limited Rights Data will be furnished or delivered by the Seller or a lower-tier subcontractor pursuant to paragraph (g) of the FAR 52.227-14 RIGHTS IN DATA – GENERAL clause of these GENERAL PROVISIONS, LLNS may disclose the data for the following purposes, which disclosure purposes shall be inserted in the Limited Rights Notice to be affixed to the data…”  However, the RFP and subsequent award does not contemplate any limited rights technical data being developed, produced or furnished at LLNS’ expense. Question:  Since no limited rights technical data is contemplated for this procurement, would LLNS consider removing Clause 25 from Attachment 12?

Answer #56: refer to A44 above

 

Question #57: On the EEO Compliance Certification Form (Attachment 11), can LLNS please clarify what it meant by ‘local’; is this pertaining to all 3 sites or just the LLNL site?  

Answer #57: 'local' refers to the offeror's business location that produces / submits a proposal, whereas 'company-wide' refers to the offeror's entire company

 

Question #58: In an effort for the Vendors to accurately develop the on-site parts cache, can LLNS please provide an estimate on the # of SUs with the SU type, i.e. 1SU, 2SU, 4SU, etc that LANL, LLNL and SNL  intends to purchase on an annual basis?

Answer #58: refer to A14 above

 

Question #59: "We are just checking to make sure that the latest and final version of the SOW is posted to the LLNL web site. We ask this question for the following reasons: 

  • We noticed that v1.8 had been posted. 
  • Then v1.9 was posted. Yet no updates or changes were made between the 2 versions.
  • Also, when Amendment 1 was issued, v1.9 of the SOW was not updated.
  • Also, the SOW for v1.9 still says DRAFT. 
  • And we just want to make sure there were no other changes intended in the SOW v1.9. "

Answer #59: The draft SOW available at the RFP website is the correct draft SOW. The document is intentionally labeled 'draft' to indicate it is not the intended final version to be incorporated in the subcontract at the time of initial award. The draft SOW is essentially a tool used for the bvss RFP process. The draft SOW identifies, in part, MRs and TRs for RFP purposes. After the proposal evaluation / selection process is complete, LLNS and the Offeror selected for negotiation (i.e. selected offeror) will negotiate a final SOW based on the selected offeror's proposed technical solution and LLNS / Tri-Laboratory requirements. The final negotiated SOW will identify traditional firm requirements (as opposed to MRs and TRs identifed in the RFP's draft SOW).

 

Question #60: In reviewing the RFP requirements we noticed that there was an inconsistency in the two sections around onsite installation expectations:

In 5.5.7.3 of the Draft Statement of Work RFP B640169 Attachment 2 document it states, “The Offeror will deliver, install, fully assemble, pass Offeror’s delivery checklist and initial functionality and performance verification testing, and turn over each SU to the Tri-Laboratory community for acceptance testing within three days of the date the first truck delivering the SU backs up to the loading dock.”

However in Section 6.8.10.3, the required testing has a duration of well over 3 days and conflicts with the requirement in 5.5.7.3. At a minimum, 6.8.10.3 states a 48 hour Hardware stress test is required, a 48 hour HSN stress test is required, as well as 5 day HSN interconnect functionality test must be performed at a Tri-Labs facility prior to turning over the SUs to the Tri-Laboratories for acceptance testing.

Question: The majority of the tasks in section 6.8.10.3 will already be performed during the integration assembly and testing that occurs at the Offeror integration facility prior to delivery to the Tri-Lab facility, therefore, in an effort to minimize the time of the onsite installation will LLNS please reduce the requirements in 6.8.10.3 to allow all testing to be completed within the 3 days the vendor is to be onsite per the requirements of 5.5.7.3 and/or reduce the HSN interconnect functionality test to a max of 3 days which will be consistent with the time the Offeror is onsite per section 5.5.7.3.

Answer #60: There is no inconsistency in the SOW. The two sections describe slightly different ascpects of the system burn-in process.

Section 5.5.7.3 "SU Installation Time" describes possible steps the Offeror may take to field, assemble, and rerun any tests the Offeror feels need to be run prior to handing the cluster over for LLNS (with Offeror) to start a more extensive burn-in process. The intention of Section 5.5.7.3 is to verify that all components still pass all Offeror's tests after the system has disassembled, shipped, and reassembled at the receiving site. While the 3-day target goal is aggressive, LLNS has been able to optimize past deliveries and installs to meet such a timeline. The Offeror is free to state what would be required to meet that goal, but also propose an alternative goal that would allow rapid deployment of stable systems. Although not explicitly called out, this stage is part of steps 1-3 of Section 6.8.10.3.

Section 6.8.10.3 "SU Delivery, Intergration, and Acceptance" describes milestone language and includes the more extensive testing process done by LLNS (with Offeror involved) after the Offeror delivers / hands over the system to the receiving site. Steps 4-10 describe the milestone criteria for the more extensive acceptance testing (functionality, performance, & stability) that LLNS will carrying out with the Offeror.

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