Blog Post

Amazon wasn’t named, but it’s a winner too in the latest federal cloud scrum

Stay on Top of Enterprise Technology Trends

Get updates impacting your industry from our GigaOm Research Community
Join the Community!

When it comes to the U.S. Department of Interior’s big cloud migration contract, everyone’s a winner. Or at least ten companies can claim bragging rights, and brag they all did in a succession of press releases starting in May and culminating last week.

But the one cloud player you might expect to top any short list, Amazon Web Services, was nowhere in sight, even though unlike some finalists — Verizon and IBM, for example — it at least has its FedRAMP certification. But don’t be fooled. AWS will be in this cloud.

While the DoI waited till Wednesday to officially announce the ten finalists, the names have been known at least since March and press releases started flowing months ago. The hold up, apparently, was that CenturyLink, which did not make the cut, sued and final DoI notifications had to wait pending outcome of that suit (CenturyLink lost in July.)

Autonomic Resources  announced its win in May. SmartronixAquilent and Unisys followed suit in June; and CGI and Lockheed Martin issued press releases earlier in August. IBM did it Thursday and Verizon brought up the rear on Friday. Not sure where AT&T’s or GTRI’s releases are but those two vendors are also on the short list of companies that can compete for this DoI business.

Each of the ten can, in theory, earn up to $1 billion from this work but more importantly, as reps from several of the vendors told me, the fact that they are on the approved list opens doors to more work going forward.

But while AWS is not mentioned, but that doesn’t mean it’s won’t get any DoI business. AWS partners with three of the ten approved vendors Aquilent, Smartronix and Lockheed Martin, so I’m betting it will get a piece of this action.

In its release, Smartronix said its Intelligent Cloud Hub (ICH),

” provides access to Service Catalogs across multiple Cloud Service Providers. Smartronix announced in January that Amazon Web Services (AWS) was the first cloud provider enabled by the ICH and offers a broad range of AWS services through its Foundation Gateway Portal developed exclusively for DOI.”

Smartronix, like other vendors bidding for big government contracts, works with many tech vendors including Microsoft, Cisco, Equinix, SAP, Oracle and others. So when it comes to government contracts, especially big government cloud contracts, you have to peel back the onion to see what technologies are going in.

With the federal government pursuing a “cloud first” initiative to modernize its IT infrastructure, there’s big bucks to be made in government work so stay tuned for lots more noise around contracts. And if you don’t think the stakes are sky high, just look at the melee sparked over the CIA cloud. The last we heard, Amazon filed suit in a federal claims court contesting an IBM challenge to the CIA’s decision to use … you got it: AWS.

Confusing, no? Welcome to the world of government contracting.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Thomas Faivre-Duboz

One Response to “Amazon wasn’t named, but it’s a winner too in the latest federal cloud scrum”

  1. brianmccallion

    It is confusing. I’m not convinced. As you already know, I strongly favor AWS as a Cloud. As I work in enterprise, I speak with the business segment and corporate IT on a daily basis. What strikes me when I read of the cloud contracting deals, and proposed private clouds is just how little those who are defining the specifications for “private cloud” seem to understand about why the business segment moved so decisively to AWS. For corporate applications, often the business segment decides against virtualization, citing performance concerns around such and such a database application. Yet at the same time I work with VPs who have been running 5TB + datawarehouses in AWS for several years. When I ask myself why is it that some internal/datacenter applications are deemed inappropriate for virtual machines I can think of a couple of reasons: 1. internal restrictions as to how much SAN storage can be allocated for a virtual machine (<1TB), 2. Business segment believes no SLA exists for the CPU/Memory/I/O Corporate IT assigns for virtual machines. In other words, even though logically one may assert that for data center virtualization "IT has more control," over the resources and quality of service for a given application, the part of "has more control" is exactly what drives the business segment to Cloud. "The E-Myth", One of the better books on entrepreneurship, describes the difference and consequences between how individual contributors perceive their role in a business and how the business of business requires re-viewing service through the eye of the customer. Specifically, consistency of service delivery is cited as a crucial difference between creating a business and simply providing a service. In my experience IT fails to provide consistency. A given business segment may have great experience with a certain project team, only to find itself completely frustrated and stonewalled by another. AWS excels at providing a consistent experience and delivering a service in consistently the same way and of substantially the same quality. IT on the other hand does not excel at this, and in my opinion this variance experienced by business customers when working with Corporate IT is what pushes them "to the Cloud" against any logical argument Corporate IT can make that they would have "more control" in the datacenter.