Microsoft Vs. Amazon war on ‘WildandStormy’: After JEDI, new battle emerges over NSA Cloud Computing contract worth estimated $10 Billion

WildandStormy Cloud Computing Contract Amazon Microsoft
Microsoft strikes back at Amazon? Pic credit: Christopher Bowns/Flickr

Microsoft has officially filed a protest against a new Cloud Computing contract that the National Security Agency (NSA) has offered to Amazon. The contract, codenamed ‘WildandStormy’, could be about $10 Billion.

Developments under the new contract could improve the network infrastructure of the security agency. It is quite similar to the JEDI contract that Amazon successfully derailed.

After Amazon successfully prevented Microsoft from initiating work on a $10 Billion JEDI Contract, the latter seems to be striking back with very similar legal and administrative tactics.

NSA awards $10 Billion-worth contract to Amazon Web Services, and Microsoft is officially upset:

Amazon Web Services recently received a $10 Billion cloud computing contract from the National Security Agency. The contract, codenamed “WildandStormy,” is believed to be NSA’s attempts at modernizing its classified data storage.

Simply put, NSA seems to be strongly considering commercial cloud service providers to improve its own aging infrastructure. NSA has a considerably large digital database and needs to improve the same.

There are several cloud service providers. However, Microsoft and Amazon are, by far, some of the biggest and most experienced in the field. Microsoft has Azure, while Amazon has Amazon Web Services or AWS.

According to multiple reports, the NSA is pursuing a “Hybrid Compute Initiative” to meet its processing and analytical requirements while also holding onto intelligence data.

It is not immediately clear if there was an open invitation to interested bidders, and whether NSA adopted a simple bidding process. Some reports imply NAS secretly awarded AWS the ‘WildandStormy’ contract.

Microsoft has reportedly claimed the security agency did not conduct a thorough evaluation before awarding the contract. The company has filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office in July “two weeks after being notified by the NSA that it had selected AWS for the contract.”

Microsoft strikes back, and this time it is a $10 Billion NSA ‘WildandStormy’ contract:

A spokesperson for the NSA reportedly confirmed it “recently awarded a contract for cloud computing services to support the Agency. The unsuccessful offeror has filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office.”

“The Agency will respond to the protest in accordance with appropriate federal regulations.”

If these proceedings sound familiar, it is because they follow a pattern that Amazon adopted for the now-defunct $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract.

Amazon and Microsoft spent years fighting over the United States Defense Department’s $10 billion JEDI cloud services contract. Microsoft eventually won the bid.

Interestingly, multiple reviews concluded that Microsoft was the right company for the JEDI contract. However, Amazon used legal tactics to delay the deployment.

Eventually, the Defense Department canceled the contract claiming its requirements had evolved. Needless to add, Microsoft lost a huge contract.

The Pentagon has since decided to adopt a multi-vendor approach for its cloud computing requirements. The Joint Warfighter Cloud Capability contract could see Amazon and Microsoft working together, quite possibly with multiple other cloud service providers.

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