Summary:

With a new $450 million federal cloud computing contract up for bid, will we see tech giants Amazon and IBM duke it out again?

DISA

The Defense Information Systems Agency has put a $450 million cloud contract out to bid in a request for proposals released Monday. The project will cover cloud storage, virtual machines, database and web hosting services, and the contract will carry over till 2017, according to the RFP.  The news was first reported by NextGov.

Known as DISA, the agency is positioning itself as the key provider or broker of cloud computing resources to the entire U.S. Department of Defense — for unclassified and classified data.

Bidders must comply with both the General Service Administration’s  Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program standards  (FedRAMP) and DISA’s own restrictions. Given the huge interest around the contested  bid for the CIA’s $600 million cloud contract, the DISA cloud is bound to garner attention.

The CIA awarded that contract to Amazon Web Services over IBM, which subsequently contested that decision, I’d be willing to bet there will be a lot of interest in this contract as well. AWS wants to prove its mettle in handling private, sensitive information and legacy players want to prove they can “do” cloud.

In the CIA instance, the AWS bid actually came in as more pricey than IBM, a fact that seemed to make Amazon CTO Werner Vogels uncomfortable when it was brought up at last week’s GigaOM Structure event. As GigaOM Pro analyst Jo Maitland pointed out, beating IBM while charging more than IBM shows that AWS is worth a premium. “Hey, the CIA is willing to pay more for Amazon. Good for you, man,” Maitland told Vogels.

Tech vendors that meet FedRAMP requirements are Autonomic Resources, CGI Federal, Amazon Web Services, Hewlett-Packard, and Lockheed MartinDell, IBM and other vendors are working on their FedRAMP requirements and a dozen or more vendors are expected to make the grade by 2014 when that certification becomes mandatory for government work

It is unclear which of those FedRAMP-certified vendors also meet the DISA-specific requirements.

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