In a hotly debated court battle with competitor IBM over a $600 million contract with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Amazon Web Services (AWS) has come out triumphant. The ruling of the court allows the agency and Amazon to move forward with the planned contract for integrating cloud-based networks across the vast expanse of the CIA’s intelligence community. Known for its cloud networking services and its ability to host website files in the cloud, Amazon Web Services is noting this contract as a major milestone in the growth of its cloud offerings.
The CIA’s Move to the Cloud
The contract established between Amazon Web Services and the Central Intelligence Agency is to migrate from traditional networks to cloud-based networking. As many agencies begin to consider this move, the CIA has devoted a significant portion of their budget to looking for contractors to assist in the move to these new technologies. As a result, Amazon Web Services won in the competitive bidding process with their offer of services and their track record of success in the booming cloud market.
IBM vs. Amazon
Originally brought to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) by IBM, the case stated that the CIA unfairly entered into a contract without giving fair consideration to competition. IBM has stated that their bid for the project would have offered comparable, if not better services, at a lower price than their competitor’s bid. In a time of significant budget challenges in the federal government, the GAO recommended that the CIA reopen the bidding process. However, once the matter reached the courts, the judge ruled in favor of Amazon Web Services and allowed the contract to move forward.
Now that Amazon Web Services and the CIA have the blessing of the court, they can continue to move forward in establishing a secure cloud network for the intelligence community to utilize. These new networks are seen as both advantageous for users in the sharing and gathering of information, but also as a major cost-saving measure for federal agencies. As other agencies have already started the migration to cloud-based services, the CIA has been entangled in the legal process since awarding the contract to the higher-priced Amazon Web Services.
What This Means for Amazon and IBM
Amazon and IBM have emerged as two major competitors in the cloud computing market in recent years. Drawing on their track record of success, as cited in the CIA’s defense of their selection, AWS has now positioned itself as a major threat to the tech giant IBM. With their CIA deal now upheld by the courts, Amazon’s position in the market has been strengthened as more and more agencies look for contractors to migrate their services.
While the legal battle may not be completely over as IBM has vowed to appeal, what is certain is that Amazon can take this as a significant win. This court case proves that federal agencies have the utmost confidence in Amazon’s ability to provide superior web-hosted services in the highly competitive marketplace for cloud computing.