Embattled $10 billion JEDI cloud contract canceled by US Department of Defense

4 weeks ago 10

It wasn't a bully time for Microsoft Azure arsenic the Department of Defense canceled its bitterly contested $10 cardinal JEDI contract. Amazon and Microsoft had fought for it.

Cash going into the cloud

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What a day! No sooner had Amazon Web Services main Andy Jassy taken implicit arsenic Amazon's CEO from laminitis Jeff Bezos than the quality deed that the U.S. Department of Defense had canceled its $10 cardinal Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) unreality solicitation. Still, it was a worse time for Microsoft Azure. Microsoft had been the "winner" of the JEDI unreality contract

The DOD has announced that "due to evolving requirements, accrued unreality conversancy and manufacture advances, the JEDI Cloud declaration nary longer meets its needs." Sources successful DOD circles added that the long, bitter combat betwixt AWS and Microsoft implicit the declaration had go much costly and occupation than it was worth.

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As soon arsenic Microsoft won the declaration successful 2019—much to the astonishment of astir radical who'd assumed AWS was a shoo-in—AWS sued the DOD for awarding JEDI to Microsoft due to the fact that "Numerous aspects of the JEDI valuation process contained wide deficiencies, errors and unmistakable bias—and it's important that these matters beryllium examined and rectified."

Later, AWS added that then-President Donald Trump had unfairly influenced the declaration award. Trump hated Amazon and Bezos. Trump had openly disdained Amazon and Bezos, who besides owns The Washington Post. This made it hard for the Pentagon to marque decisions "without fearfulness of reprisal," AWS claimed. 

The constituent of JEDI was to upgrade bequest DOD systems with newer unreality services. Specifically, the JEDI Cloud was to supply "enterprise-level, commercialized Infrastructure arsenic a Service and Platform arsenic a Service unreality offerings to the DOD and its ngo partners."

Despite the lawsuit, successful September 2020, the DOD announced it would instrumentality to its guns and grant the JEDI declaration to Microsoft. AWS responded by calling the DOD determination "politically corrupted" by Trump. The resulting ineligible conflict slowed the declaration down to a snail's pace. 

Such battles implicit national contracts, whether they're immense similar JEDI oregon tiny sub-million dollar deals, are commonplace. They're portion and parcel of however national IT deals are made. 

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Still, successful this go-around, John Sherman, acting DOD main accusation officer, said successful a statement, "JEDI was developed astatine a clip erstwhile the Department's needs were antithetic and some the CSPs [Cloud Service Providers] exertion and our unreality conversancy was little mature. In airy of caller initiatives…  the improvement of the unreality ecosystem wrong DOD, and changes successful idiosyncratic requirements to leverage aggregate unreality environments to execute mission, our scenery has precocious and a caller way-ahead is warranted to execute dominance successful some accepted and non-traditional warfighting domains." 

Microsoft made the champion it could of the quality saying "the information of the United States is much important than immoderate azygous contract." But, they weren't blessed astir it. Toni Townes-Whitley, Microsoft's president of the U.S. Regulated Industries division, wrote: 

"The 20 months since DOD selected Microsoft arsenic its JEDI spouse highlights issues that warrant the attraction of policymakers: erstwhile 1 institution tin delay, for years, captious exertion upgrades for those who support our nation, the protestation process needs reform.  Amazon filed its protestation successful November 2019, and its lawsuit was expected to instrumentality astatine slightest different twelvemonth to litigate and output a decision, with imaginable appeals afterward."

Looking ahead, the DOD admits that it volition request much unreality capableness than it has. To code these needs, it's pursuing yet different unreality contract: The little Star Wars-named, Joint Warfighter Cloud Capability (JWCC) arsenic a multicloud/multi-vendor contract. 

But, the firm declaration battles aren't implicit yet. The DOD announced that it would beryllium seeking unreality proposals from lone 2 companies. The businesses? Microsoft and AWS. The amusive conscionable doesn't stop! 

The DOD claims that "market probe indicates that these 2 vendors are the lone CSPs susceptible of gathering the Department's requirements." Google, IBM and Oracle each whitethorn person thing to accidental astir that assumption.

John Sherman, DOD acting CIO said helium expects JWCC contracts to beryllium awarded successful aboriginal 2022, and deployments to beryllium rolled retired successful 2025. As a erstwhile Beltway Bandit, I afloat expect acold much years volition spell by earlier JWCC contracts are awarded and successfully deployed.

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