Saturday, 04 April, 2020

AWS evaluating options after losing US' $10bn Cloud contract

Cecil Davis | 27 March, 2020, 03:10

Surprised at the US Department of Defense (DoD) decision to award a $10 billion Pentagon contract to Microsoft, Amazon's Cloud arm Amazon Web Services (AWS) has said it is evaluating options.

Currently, Amazon is valued at $870 billion, while Microsoft is valued at $1 trillion, according to Barron's. What role did politics play? How will the Microsoft workers already apprehensive about their employer's government work respond?

But to grasp the larger implications, it's important to first understand what JEDI is, exactly.

The contract: The intention is to update the Defense Department's technology stack, replacing its complex, decades-old computer networks with one single cloud computing system. "We look forward to expanding our longstanding partnership with DoD and support our men and women in uniform at home, abroad, and at the tactical edge with our latest unique and differentiated Azure cloud capabilities".

AWS also spent much of the past year litigating the requirements in the Pentagon's JEDI solicitation as a defendant alongside the Defense Department against allegations of improper conflicts among DOD officials that weighted the procurement in the favor of AWS.

AWS is now the only cloud service provider with the accreditation to address the full range of DoD data classifications-Unclassified, Sensitive, Secret, and Top Secret. Those devices are described as "durable, ruggedized, and portable compute and storage" as well as "modular, rapidly deployable data centers".

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Microsoft has been announced as the victor of a multi-billion dollar deal to supply cloud computing services to the Pentagon.

In a statement, the company said it was "proud" to be the choice of the Department of Defence and "satisfy the urgent and critical needs of today's warfighters". President Donald Trump is a frequent critic of Amazon and its CEO Jeff Bezos.

Amazon, which won a lucrative cloud contract with the Central Intelligence Agency in 2013, was seen to have the upper hand in the competition.

Nevertheless, on the heels of the president's comments, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said he meant to review the contract. A speechwriter for former defense secretary Jim Mattis has told the Washington Post that Trump intervened to lock the company out of the contract.

Given the political overtones, Amazon could appeal the decision. The company questioned the DoD's outcome in a statement on Friday.

Teresa Carlson, Vice President, Worldwide Public Sector, Amazon Web Services (AWS), addressing at the AWS Public Sector Summit in Washington, DC, on Tuesday. "We're surprised", a spokesperson told NPR, adding that "a detailed assessment purely on the comparative offerings clearly lead to a different conclusion". "We remain deeply committed to continuing to innovate for the new digital battlefield where security, efficiency, resiliency and scalability of resources can be the difference between success and failure".