The U.S. Defense Logistics Agency last week said it has awarded\u00a0HP\u00a0a 10-year, $290 million contract to install and manage a unified IT infrastructure that will consolidate the agency's data centers, servers, applications and storage devices.The Enterprise Data Center (EDC) program is designed to create a streamlined IT setup agencywide for the Fort Belvoir, Va., DLA, which provides supply chain support as well as technical and logistics services to the U.S. military, several federal civilian agencies and some foreign governments and international organizations.Mark Philip, the agency's EDC program manager, said the IT consolidation initiative is aimed at reducing technology costs and modernizing the DLA's systems so its units can operate more efficiently and better serve their customers."We looked at our (IT) operations, and we found there were areas we could make improvements in," Philip explained. "We weren't always optimizing and modernizing the infrastructure across the enterprise."Paring downThe EDC project will pare about 2,300 existing servers down to 400 machines, Philip said. Most applications and storage devices will also be consolidated and migrated with the servers to new centralized IT facilities that HP will set up and run for the DLA. "To do that will save a lot of money," Philip noted.In addition, the consolidation project is expected to enable the DLA to more effectively implement information assurance programs and expand its disaster recovery and business continuity capabilities, according to Philip.The agency's contract with HP covers five years upfront and includes options for five one-year extensions. HP will do the IT consolidation and migration work in stages in an attempt to avoid disrupting the DLA's business operations.The first migration will involve systems at the DLA's headquarters and several field operations, including the agency's Defense Energy Support Center and Defense Logistics Information Service. Consolidated systems for those units are expected to be up and running within seven months, the DLA said, adding that the entire IT infrastructure makeover is due to be completed by August 2006.The DLA is also working to modernize its business systems through a $500 million project that began four years ago and includes the installation of ERP, supply chain and procurement applications from vendors such as SAP AG and Manugistics Group.DLA officials said a "concept demonstration" phase that began in mid-2002 now involves 250,000 supply items and nearly 1,200 registered end users. The agency plans to begin full-scale deployment of the applications in January, pending approval from the secretary of Defense's office. By September 2006, the modernized systems are expected to support management of 5.2 million items by more than 5,000 users.