According to The Register, the U.S. Department of Defense is planning on choosing only on vendor for its multimillion-dollar cloud contract. The decision is staying even after Oracle’s co-CEO stated this move “makes no sense.”
Last month, the Pentagon published a draft proposal calling for only one cloud services provider to man the Join Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) program for the entire military. The Department of Defense said having one provider would minimize complexity in its “fragmented and largely on-premise computing” storage systems.
However, The Register says the proposal came under fire when vendors and other industry experts argued that opting for a single vendor would “limit competition and innovation, and could have a negative impact on the long-term security of the systems.”
The Register also says that the government has declined to offer direct answers to questions about the single contact award, and said that it doesn’t feel the single contract option is restrictive. However, vendors have said that multiple vendors are needed for an operation at this scale, since different vendors have different specialties; today’s commercial cloud computing provider ecosystems are built by multiple vendors to optimize a company’s workload. For example, some vendors focus on office productivity, whereas others are better suited for machine learning.
What decision makers need to know:
When the proposal was published earlier this month, it was followed by a Q&A document that lists annonymized comments the government received about the proposal. One of the key questions of the document centered around the closing window of opportunity for other vendors to bid for a piece of the government’s cloud system.
For example, one respondent asked, “Does the single award apply to a single Cloud OEM (ie, AWS, Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, Google, etc), or does a single award also apply to an offeror who is a Cloud Broker for multiple Cloud OEMs?” The corresponding answer was, “Offerors may propose any kind of teaming/partnering arrangement so long as the proposed solution meets the requirements of the solicitation,” according to The Register.
Based on this report, it seems that cloud vendors feel the government has made it impossible for other firms aside from AWS to bid for the project. However, while this door appears closed to firms and other vendors, other large-scale projects are open to applications. Plus, with all of the issues and headaches accumulating during investigation of Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election, among other network breaches, vendors and other industry experts have the chance to avoid these problem and move on to bigger, better and less controversial projects.