NSA Awards $10bn Contract To AWS, But Microsoft Files Complaint

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Revenge for the JEDI? Microsoft files an official complaint with government regulator, after NSA awards $10 billion contract to AWS

Microsoft and Amazon Web Services (AWS) are set to battle again over a lucrative US government contract.

This time, AWS won a $10bn contract code named ‘WildandStormy’ from the National Security Agency (NSA), as it seeks to transision away from on-premises servers to a commercial provider.

That came after Microsoft had won the Pentagon’s $10bn JEDI cloud contract in October 2019, until repeated legal challenges by AWS forced the Pentagon last month to cancel JEDI  altogether.

Microsoft complaint

Now the shoe is on the other foot, and this time Microsoft has filed an official complaint with the US Government Accountability Office about the contract award to AWS.

According to Washington Technology which first reported on the matter, Microsoft is challenging the NSA decision, and is alleging that NSA didn’t conduct a proper evaluation.

If the agency had, Microsoft reportedly said it would have been picked over AWS.

Microsoft had filed its complaint with the GAO in July, and the watchdog is expected to issue its ruling on 29 October.

In a statement to NextGov, an NSA spokesperson confirmed the award and protests.

“The Agency will respond to the protest in accordance with appropriate federal regulations,” the NSA spokesperson reportedly said.

WildandStormy contract

So what exactly is the WildandStormy contract?

Well, bearing in mind that the NSA is a top secret US intelligence agency, details are a little thin on the ground.

However, it is reported to be a contract for the intelligence agency to bring in commercial cloud computing capabilities. At the moment, the NSA is understood to use an on-premise environment called the GovCloud, that NSA wants to move away from.

Instead, the NSA is reportedly pursuing a Hybrid Compute Initiative.

WildandStormy is worth up to $10 billion and spans over15 years, and will reportedly provide cloud hosting services across some 17 US intelligence agencies.

Microsoft is should be remembered is competing fiercely with AWS for US government contracts.

In 2020 the CIA split up its Commercial Cloud Enterprise contract between five companies, namely Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Oracle, and IBM.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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