Published in Cloud

IBM takes on JEDI

by on11 October 2018

The Force is strong in this one

IBM is challenging the US Defence Department’s decision to turn to a single provider for its $10 billion department wide cloud computing infrastructure which has the Star Wars name JEDI.

IBM has filed a pre-award bid protest with the Government Accountability Office, which rules on bid protests.

JEDI calls for the creation of a huge cloud computing system that can enable new weapons capabilities and store classified data. The JEDI cloud will absorb some of the Pentagon’s existing efforts and is considered a “pathfinder” that the Defence Department will build upon for decades.

Whichever company is awarded the contract will not only receive billions of dollars in federal funding but also will have a strong foothold from which to compete for other opportunities.

Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, IBM and Oracle are expected to compete for the opportunity. Amazon is considered a front runner for the contract because it has been the CIA’s primary cloud service provider for years.

Google has given up because Jedi breaks its rules on doing too much business with the dark side of the force.

The Defence Department has made the case that using more than one provider would add needless complexity.

IBM, Microsoft and Oracle have sharply criticized the government’s single-provider tack for the past six months, saying that turning to one would lock the government out of innovations happening at other companies and increase costs by shutting out would-be competitors.

IBM said that the single-award approach would conflict with the White House’s “Cloud Smart” strategy, which emphasises using the best options from government and commercial industry.

The DOD cloud award is completely contrary to what the Trump administration has been saying as far as cloud smart, an IBM spokesman said.

IBM said the Pentagon’s single-vendor approach for the JEDI contract would further undermine the department’s cybersecurity posture.

“JEDI’s single-cloud approach also would give bad actors just one target to focus on should they want to undermine the military’s IT backbone,” the company wrote in a draft shared with The Post. “The world’s largest businesses are increasingly moving in a multi-cloud direction because of security, flexibility and resilience; the Pentagon is moving in precisely the opposite direction.”

IBM executives seem to have no qualms about the possibility that a deluge of legal actions could obstruct the contract entirely, saying it would be better to restart the process and turn to multiple vendors.

Last modified on 04 January 2019
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