Rarely a call for tenders by the Pentagon will not have created such a controversy. With several months of delay, a first milestone has been reached, Friday, 12 October. At stake : a contract that may reach $ 10 billion dollars (8.6 billion euros) over ten years to host a portion of the data of the u.s. department of defense in the ” cloud computing “, cloud computing. Amazon and Microsoft seem to be in the best position to take the bet.
For Rick Holgate is an analyst in Gartner research, the two groups of Seattle (northwestern United States) are ” the only ones who can provide a service of “cloud” of this magnitude “. The Pentagon wants to choose a single vendor for the entire contract, known by the acronym JEDI (Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure). His bidding, which amounts to more than 1 300 pages long, lists so many of the criteria of technological and financial, which should disqualify all the other contenders, such as IBM and Oracle.
By the way, Google has withdrawn from the race. The juggernaut of the Web justifies his decision by his new principles in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), which include, in particular not to contribute to the development of weapons. Facing the wrath of its employees, the firm of Mountain View (California) had already decided, in June, to renew the project with the Pentagon using software AI to better analyze images captured by the drones of the american army.
The final choice is expected in the spring of 2019. The procedure, however, could be slowed by the appeal filed by IBM and Oracle before the Government Accountability Office, the equivalent of the Court of auditors. The two companies are reconsidering the option of the supplier unique, and that the ministry of defence, motivated by reasons of efficiency and security. “No company in the world would not have chosen to build a “cloud” as JEDI, ” says Sam Gordy, manager of government contracts at IBM.
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Amazon wants to win the battle of the cloud
An important step
In the Face of Microsoft, Amazon Web Services with a step ahead. A pioneer in this market, the subsidiary of the giant in e-commerce has been awarded significant contracts with us federal agencies, in particular with the CIA. It is, for the moment, the only one to have the necessary permissions to host sensitive data of the government.
Remains an unknown : the impact of his bad relations with Donald Trump. The White House assures that the president of the United States is not involved in the decision-making process. “But he has already meddled in other contracts,” recalls Rick Holgate. According to the agency Bloomberg, Safra Catz, co-CEO of Oracle, would be direct complaint from Mr. Trump.
The contract of the JEDI is an important step for the department of defense, which begins its transition to the ” cloud “. “The advantage, on the field of battle, cannot be achieved without the adoption of the “cloud”, ” says Dana Deasy, the head of information technology. The Pentagon would like to take advantage of the progress of the AI to analyze more data and provide its soldiers with real-time information.
“The JEDI is only the beginning “, the judge and Mr. Holgate. A second call for tenders, of 8 billion dollars over ten years, to be launched in 2019. In the long term, according to the Gartner analyst, the Pentagon could spend up to $ 10 billion per year for its ” cloud “.