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Report: IBM protests Amazon $600m CIA cloud contract

Amazon: 'We're changing IT!' Big Blue: 'Release the lawyers!'

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IBM has lawyered-up to protest the CIA's alleged plan to spend $600 million with Amazon Web Services over the next decade.

Big Blue has filed a bid of protest with the government to try and get the CIA to reconsider its decision to spend money on Bezos & Co.'s cloud, according to some diligent muckraking by government IT mag FCW.

The $600m contract was first reported by FCW in March, and should see AWS help the CIA build its own spooky private cloud – that is, a giant pool of infrastructure with a software layer on top that lets the CIA devote all its resources to a single task, or as many tasks as there are CPUs, with a flexible data storage and networking underlay as well.

IBM, being none too happy about this, filed a protest on the contract in Feb 26th, and supplemented the protest with further information three times, with the last protest filed April 11th, according to FCW.

Traditionally, IBM has been the go-to organization for governments with major logistical and IT projects, whether that be building the gear for major US and German censuses, designing some of NASA's compute infrastructure, or creating massive travel-reservation systems.

For a company like Amazon to get this type of contract flies in the face of IBM's corporate strategy, and we reckon could elicit befuddled responses akin to VMware's labelling of Amazon as little more than "a company that sells books".

But the pesky invisible hand of Adam Smith is on Amazon's side, as the cost benefits gained from increasing capacity utilization and having a more uniform non-specialist base of capital components seem to favor AWS-style solutions over those of the build-to-fit IBM specialty.

For this reason, a team of some 25 Morgan Stanley bean counters recently proclaimed that the rise of the AWS cloud represents a severe threat to much of the existing IT industry. This CIA deal is another illustration of how AWS's cloud has upended the traditional IT world.

At the time of writing, neither Amazon or IBM had responded to a request by The Register for information. ®

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